Sunday, November 26, 2006
I'm trying to keep straight what we did each day...
Friday: Woke up before the sun rose (around a quarter to 5) to take a shuttle to the airport. Very busy place, the San Jose airport the Friday before Thanksgiving. Sat there for a very long time, during which interval the alarm on a door went off. No one working there bothered to turn it off, so I moved as far away as possible from the screeching.
Short plane ride -- was in Oregon before noon, and Mum & I eventually found the car in the parking lot and headed to the mall. Wanted to stop by The Body Shop and enjoy not having a sales tax. At home, I think we took a walk along the ditch & I helped with dinner...
Saturday: Big breakfast. Mum & I hiked up in the gorge -- Horsetail Falls, Oneonta Falls, & Triple Falls. Many people with dogs that we kept running into! The highway sounded rather like the ocean from afar. The hiking justified the Jello Pudding Pie later.
Sunday: Walked along the ditch with Mum. Watched The Hours -- Mum & I enjoyed it. I especially loved tracing Mrs. Dalloway in the plotlines... This is the payoff post-quals.
Monday: Dentist appointment early. All went well, and they gave me a new pink toothbrush. Stopped by Grammy's after, chatted and stayed for a very healthy lunch (cottage cheese & pear & whole wheat bread & peanut butter & home-baked energy bars -- wasn't hungry till dinner). Then we had our Thanksgiving shopping to do... ended up at Safeway for an organic free-range turkey. Made a walnut pie with Mum & an apple dumpling. Dinner of cod.
Tuesday: At the last minute, I had reservations about going to Corvallis to meet up with Merrie and drive back during the Weds. holiday madness. After starting to pack, we called and figured things out... I went on a hike up on the old logging trails for a view of the (foggy) upper valley. I kept hoping to find an antler to give Merrie, and hoping we'd made the right decision. I explored around at the top, climbed up higher to scope things out. Saw a deer on my way down, which (unwisely) hung around to get a glimpse of me.
Weds: Much preparation before Mer arrived. Went to town for last minute things (like more chai & apple cider & spinach & Rasmussen's for squash). Rosauer's was swamped. Had to wait for parking spots amidst honking and confusion, then had to wait for someone to return a shopping cart. Met up with Shannon, who confirmed that everything was a crisis and they were out of French onions. Might have taken a walk once home again -- hard to remember now. Baked apple dumplings and a pumpkin/cheesecake. I made dinner for Mer (we had squash and lentil pilaf and spinach), and we caught up. Rainy. She had a pretty hectic drive, took around an hour and a half longer than it should have due to traffic. Watched Medium: quite exciting with the Groundhog Day-style dream repetition.
Thurs: Thanksgiving! Mom had the turkey in the oven as Mer & I were waking up. We went on a walk up on "dead elk way" (newly dubbed branch of logging trail that we had previously called "you know when you turn left at the top of the hill"). Climbed until we got to a hill we didn't want to tackle. And then Merrie led the way straight down the hill, since it's never much fun backtracking. Hit some brush on the way down and got a bit muddy. Made it home in time to help with the last minute madness. Boiling sweet potatoes, mashing potatoes, compiling stuffing, heating up green beans & cranberries, heating up rolls, making gravy, etc... We had an early dinner (2:30 pm), and then I helped de-meat the turkey. It was interesting to eat turkey, Mer and I sampled and agreed "it's good!"
A bit after 4, we headed over to Scott & Linda's to see family. We checked out Scott's latest antlers, talked around the fire, and were entertained by the kids. MacKenzie got us started on a game of telephone, and she proceeded to make up things like "Princess dancing" and "Pony in the fire" and "bubble gum." Then she recruited me for a game of hide-the-my-little-pony. Come to find out, she's pretty good at hiding things.
Back home, we had our desserts... we'd now acquired an assortment of pies & dumplings & ice cream.
Friday: Went hiking with Mum & Mer up Gilhouley in the rain. It was rainy and misty, but made for some beautiful views as the fog moved around the upper valley. Snow level was down into the hills. Mer and I were walking ahead of Mum at some point, and a deer suddenly bounded across our path. We looked at each other, and then realized Mum had missed it. At the top, ran into a recently used logging road w/ cut trees. Sat and snacked on desserts till we were too cold to sit still any longer. Going down the hill was much faster than going up it.
Thanksgiving dinner part 2.
Watched The Family Stone -- surprisingly I think we all enjoyed it (even though it meant not re-watching The Family Man on TV).
Saturday: After breakfast, we headed up into the hills till we reached snow. We made it beyond Lola Pass, but had to stop before reaching Lost Lake. We explored a side trail, which let out onto the old road that's now blocked, but leads to the other side of the lake. Mer, Andrew, & I hiked along the other end of it over the summer. We didn't make it up too far, but I climbed a hill for a bit of a better view of the mountain while Mer, Mum, & Tim investigated a little dead-ending trail. On the way down met another family which delayed us, but still made it home at a decent hour... Then Mer and I headed into Hood River. Hung out with Audrey & Jess at Andrew's Pizza & Dog River Coffee. Gingerbread lattes are perfect. Mer joined us after buying a headlight. Sat around talking high school, current romances, school, jobs, etc.
After, Mer & I took a stop by Rosauer's for cupcakes & flowers, and met up with Mum & Tim at the Mesquitery for Mum's birthday dinner. I'd never been there, but the food is great. Plenty of pesca-flexi-tarian options. But I ended up ordering the exact same thing as Mer. And exchanged bits with Mum. After dinner we made it home first... and set up gifts & flowers on the coffee table. Tim walked in and saw, and then Mum came in, and marvelled that we made it home first (even though she heard us honk at them as we passed them just getting into their car). Anyway, she wandered around the living room asking "am I missing something?" as Mer & I laughed and confirmed that indeed, she was. Of course she didn't miss it for much longer, and we then enjoyed cupcakes over a game of Yahtzee. Come to find out, I'm horrible at Yahtzee. Except for full houses. Then Mer & I watched SNL and had popcorn... I napped on the bed with Sassy cat while Mer figured out her schedule for next quarter.
Today: It snowed! Started sometime I think between 3 or 4 am and 7 am, kept piling up on the skylight in my room. Sassy cat watched from my window. Big breakfast for Mum's birthday and a "Christmas at Yellowstone" special on PBS. Then Mer left early. Sadness. Just as I was getting back to my room wondering "well what the hell now," Linda & Scott arrived for Mum's birthday. So that was good. Then Mum & I went on a short walk in the newly fallen snow, and I had the afternoon to leisurely look for stuff for my PWR class and my sample lesson plan for Weds.
Thanksgiving dinner part 3.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Because -- surprise, surprise -- it appears as though it increases the risk of developing a common type of breast cancer.
I'll let the WaPo speak for itself:
Pandagon has a great discussion on this article, relating it to the problems of feedlots and factory farming in general. And something that's been bothering me a lot lately: the way in which companies slap a pink ribbon on its products as a quick PR trick, rather than actually evaluating how their products affect women's health. And, you know, changing things based upon that evaluation.
Younger women who regularly eat red meat appear to face an increased risk for a common form of breast cancer, according to a large, well-known Harvard study of women's health.
The study of more than 90,000 women found that the more red meat the women consumed in their 20s, 30s and 40s, the greater their risk for developing breast cancer fueled by hormones in the next 12 years. Those who consumed the most red meat had nearly twice the risk of those who ate red meat infrequently...
Although more research is needed to confirm the association and explore the possible reasons for it, researchers said the findings provide another motivation to limit consumption of red meat, which is already known to increase the risk of colon cancer...
Cho added that the findings could be particularly important because the type of breast cancer the study associated with red meat consumption has been increasing. Eating less red meat may help counter that trend...
Why red meat might increase the risk for breast cancer remains unknown, but previous research has suggested several possible reasons: Substances produced by cooking meat may be carcinogenic, naturally occurring substances in meat may mimic the action of hormones, or growth hormones that farmers feed cows could fuel breast cancer in women who consume meat from the animals.
So this is #107 why red meat is bad for our health & bad for our environment. It doesn't seem that surprising: agribusiness feeds cattle a completely unnatural diet of grain and other animals (ahem, mad cow), while giving them hormones and antibiotics to increase profit margins. Considering the effects of bioaccumulation, and the fact that nasty stuff accumulates in fat, it seems fairly self-explanatory why eating animal flesh could be risky.
But my favorite part of this WaPo article is this, which signals the close of the essay:
But noting that earlier studies reached the opposite conclusion, Randall D. Huffman, vice president for scientific affairs at the American Meat Institute, said that research into "diet and health is known for its fluid and often contradictory conclusions. This study is a perfect example of that."Yes, BRILLIANT idea! This is journalistic "integrity" at its finest. In the interest of "fair and balanced" reporting, who does the journalist turn to in making concluding remarks? OH YES, of course, a talking head from the American F-ing Meat Institute! Because I'm sure he's completely unbiased. It's not like his f*cking paycheck comes from the meat industry that relies upon selling a product that is bad for women's health, right?
And then this Huffman character pushes the food pyramid, which is heavily influenced by big agribusiness:
"The wisest course of action in the wake of one more contradictory study is to consume the balanced diet recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines," he said.
Really? Is this really the wisest course of action? Or would the wisest course of action be to limit one's intake of red meat, seeing as it is linked to myriad health problems?
Friday, November 10, 2006
These are the problems of a large segment of society following blind faith over science and, oh, REALITY.
Here's my take on some excerpts from the article. Pandagon also has a write up which deals more explicitly with the racism involved in trying to "outgrow" Muslim countries, and how this movement links up with anti-choice perspectives in general.
Though there are no exact figures for the size of the movement, the number of families that identify as Quiverfull is likely in the thousands to low tens of thousands. Its word-of-mouth growth can be traced back to conservative Protestant critiques of contraception--adherents consider all birth control, even natural family planning (the rhythm method), to be the province of prostitutes--and the growing belief among evangelicals that the decision of mainstream Protestant churches in the 1950s to approve contraception for married couples led directly to the sexual revolution and then Roe v. Wade.
Wait: contraception = an inheritance from prostitutes?! Do these people know anything about the history of contraception? Which would also be the history of civilization? As long as we've known what caused pregnancy, we've been trying to control our reproductive capacities. It's part of having the ability to think and reason. Because reasoning people have long understood that despite your belief in one or another god (or set thereof), sometimes nature just doesn't cooperate (like when one has too many kids to take care of already).
"Our bodies are meant to be a living sacrifice," write the Hesses. Or, as Mary Pride, in another of the movement's founding texts, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality, puts it, "My body is not my own." This rebuttal of the feminist health text Our Bodies, Ourselves is deliberate. Quiverfull women are more than mothers. They're domestic warriors in the battle against what they see as forty years of destruction wrought by women's liberation: contraception, women's careers, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and child abuse, in that order…
Um, what? And why is the writer not calling them out on this blatant misinformation? That whole female martyrdom thing? Been there, done that, and it wasn't so hot. "Quiverfull" martyrs may not remember this, but women wanted contraception. And they were relieved to have it. They really ought to read some of the letters to Sanger in the early 20th century. And that whole having a career thing? Also makes many women very happy. Don't change women having careers, change the society that makes it so difficult for a woman to both have a career and a family. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.
As to abortion: I think South America has already provided us with plenty of examples of how criminalizing abortion hurts women. Compare Brazil's abortion rate with that of the Netherlands, for example. And divorce? Means that people aren't suffering in marriages that didn't work out. Despite popular right wing ideology, forced marriage does not a happy marriage make. Staying with something that makes you miserable, or with someone that beats you, doesn't make you a better person.
OK, homosexuality? Come on. Look at most other animal species. Read some of the ancient Greeks & Romans. Homosexuality is both natural and human. The reasoning here is very simply an intentional misreading of causality. Feminism doesn't cause homosexuality. But feminist and civil rights movements do create an atmosphere in which one is willing to claim one's humanity and own up to one's sexuality.
Child abuse? Do we even need to dignify that with an answer? A passing knowledge of human nature and child labor laws in the past 200 years would be a good place to start.
"Family planning," Pride argues, "is the mother of abortion. A generation had to be indoctrinated in the ideal of planning children around personal convenience before abortion could be popular."…
Whoa there. What indoctrination? Women wanted contraception long before it was legal to even talk about it with your nurse or doctor. And what exactly is better than "personal convenience" for deciding when to embark on a pregnancy? Should we strive to have children when we're broke, single, and too young or immature to take care of them?
Pastor Heneghan of Gospel Community Church sees the issue of population growth in more biblical terms, specifically those taken from Genesis and Revelation. "Some people think that what I'm doing--having eleven children--is wrong. I don't really get into that much. The Bible says 'be fruitful and multiply.' That's my belief system. They don't believe in God, so they think we have to conserve what we have. But in my belief system, He's going to give us a new earth." Overpopulation isn't a problem in a universe where God promises a clean global slate…
More evidence for how easy it is to pick a verse from the Bible and use it to support whatever crazy scheme you've thought up. If you're going to literally interpret "be fruitful and mutliply," then why not all those old Hebrew laws in Leviticus? Oh yeah, that's right: because those are outdated. Suppose it's ever dawned on these guys that we've already been "fruitful and multiplied" since Adam and Eve got that advice? That maybe it's time to stop taking that so literally?
And I'm sorry, you can also believe that God will pick up your dirty socks and put them in the hamper, but even the strongest faith does not change reality. Over here in the reality-based world, the human population has skyrocketed, while the environment has taken a beating. The vast majority of scientists are *very worried* about global warming and our belated and ineffectual responses to it thus far. Forests are being cut down to satisify first world markets. Our water, air, and land are so polluted with industrial chemicals and waste products that scientists (and the rest of us who are paying attention) are very worried about the impact on human health. Here's one of the latest studies, I'll just give the lead-in: "MILLIONS of children worldwide may have suffered brain damage as a direct result of industrial pollution, scientists said yesterday."
Yeah. So, about your belief system: It doesn't correlate with reality. So unless you remove yourself from the reality of the The Earth, November 2006, please start acting like a responsible citizen who has to think about his/her impact on the environment and human society. Seriously, it's what Jesus would do.
When I visited Janet and Ted Wolfson at their paintball farm in Canton, Georgia, for a planned Quiverfull picnic (one cut short by bad weather and Rachel Scott's cardinal rule that "with eight children, plans are always subject to change"), the Wolfsons and their guests were discussing the reasons for sticking with Quiverfull through the hard times. An anonymous mother had written in to the Quiverfull Digest full of despair, saying she felt she was "going to die." Her husband was older and unhelpful around the house, and she feared he would die and leave her to raise their six children alone and destitute. She wanted someone on the forum to give her a reason--besides the Bible--why one should be Quiverfull. The answers were quickand pointed: Apart from Scripture, there's no reason why one should be Quiverfull.
"If you don't invoke God's word, then there's really no reason," the Wolfsons explained. "Kids are great and all that, but in reality, it's all about the Bible."
Come again?! These are the people trying to teach us about the proper mentality of the parent? That's frankly quite scary. "Kids are great and all"? That's it? Maybe when you're having a baby a year due to your misinterpretation of the Bible, reality starts to set in and you realize that's a helluva lot of diapers? And you realize that there's really no reason for the way you're living your life, except for this little sentence in the Bible that you've cherry picked as being the only one you're going to interpret literally?
And even sadder: can you imagine being the 13th child? Who's here because it's "all about the Bible"?
But if the Quiverfull mission is rooted in faith, the unseen, its mandate to be fruitful and multiply has tangible results as well. Namely, in Rick and Jan Hess's words, to provide "arrows for the war."
Oh oops, spoke too soon. I mean, can you imagine being the 13th child who's here because his/her parents want to provide plenty of Christian soldiers for the anticipated war with the Muslim world?
After arguing Scripture, the Hesses point to a number of more worldly effects that a Christian embrace of Quiverfull could bring. "When at the height of the Reagan Revolution," they write, "the conservative faction in Washington was enforced [sic] with squads of new conservative congressmen, legislators often found themselves handcuffed by lack of like-minded staff. There simply weren't enough conservatives trained to serve in Washington in the lower and middle capacities." But if just 8 million American Christian couples began supplying more "arrows for the war" by having six children or more, they propose, the Christian-right ranks could rise to 550 million within a century ("assuming Christ does not return before then"). They like to ponder the spiritual victory that such numbers could bring: both houses of Congress and the majority of state governor's mansions filled by Christians; universities that embrace creationism; sinful cities reclaimed for the faithful; and the swift blows dealt to companies that offend Christian sensibilities…
Someone should really tell these people that just because you take your child to church, doesn't mean your child is going to grow up believing everything that you believe in. There are many, many liberals who were raised by religious right wingers.
Oh, and by the by: We've already seen what happens when the head of Evangelicals, Ted Haggerd, visits the White House on a weekly basis. Things fall apart, and the Dems take both houses of Congress.
In both Carlson's writings and in the work of Mary Pride and the Hesses, this is reflected in their description of patriarchal families as the basic "cellular units of society" that form a bulwark against Communism, as well as in the military-industrial terminology they assign to biblical gender roles within such "cells": the husband described as company CEO, the wife as plant manager and the children as workers. Or, in alternate form, the titles revised to reflect the Christian church's "constant state of war" with the world: "Commander in Chief" Jesus, the husband a "commanding officer" and his wife a "private" below him. And the kids? Presumably ammunition, arrows, weapons for the war.
Someone should also tell these people that if Jesus were alive today, he'd be a hippy. (Even David Kuo admits that.) Who, exactly, would Jesus bomb?
I thought so.
And you couldn't make those analogies more hilariously ridiculous if you tried. Sometimes I wonder when I'm reading The Nation, if I'm actually reading The Onion.
Thus patriarchy, and its requirement that wives submit to their husbands, becomes a mission in itself, the inversion of a reactionary movement into a seeming revolution against modern society. As Pride writes, "Submission has a military air.... When the private is committed to winning the war, and is willing to subject his personal desires to the goal of winning, and is willing to follow the leader his Commander has put over him, that army stands a good chance of winning."…
Yuck. Nothing like blatant misogyny to make me want to vomit. Having a penis does not equal having either brains or a good plan. I think our current president perfectly illustrates this. Nor does having a Y chromosome mean you're a good leader, compassionate, or even sane. Hmmm...
Taking a long view as unsettling in its way as Pastor Bartly Heneghan's rapture talk, Longman says that no society can survive to reproduce itself without following patriarchy…
Uhh -- wait a sec. First, I assume they're talking about industrialized, capitalist societies, because there are examples of more matriarchal human groups. Secondly, do we really have enough evidence to make this statement? Call me crazy, but wouldn't we need a modern, industralized nation that: 1) is not patriarchal or 2) is not still very much shaped by patriarchy? And where, pray tell, is this society?
Oh yes, there isn't one. So I want to know why we need to follow patriarchy in order to reproduce society. Are we supposed to seriously give up on the idea of women being equally human just because some countries in Europe have low birth rates? It is quite possible and likely that birth rates simply change according to local and global conditions. Maybe women are having fewer children because the world is overpopulated, because they know that in first world countries all their children are likely to surive, and because they can. Maybe women are right to have fewer children in the modern world. Maybe all women would make this choice if they were free of religious and cultural messages to the contrary.
If that's true, then I've just solved the right-wing Evangelicals' worse fears about a coming Christian-Muslim world war. Just give Muslim women rights over their bodies and reproductive capacities.
But for the sake of argument, let's consider the other side. That the only way to reproduce modern society, and our U.S. society in particular, is through patriarchy. Then I see no way out but to seriously confront the question: If we need to coerce women into reproducing society through patriarchal control, then is it a society really worth reproducing?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I woke up to gray skies, and turned on the TV for updates on the Senate races. As I got ready for class, the overcast clouds burned off to a blue sky, Nancy Pelosi was on TV, and, commentators were speculating as to what will happen with the House under Democratic control. I was in the bathroom putting on mascara when the newscasters interrupted themselves with the AP breaking news that *Rumsfeld was resigning.* Needless to say, I rushed out of the bathroom, shocked, and ended up biking like mad to get to PWR on time. Not that it mattered: everyone was late. The cohort was talking in a circle, and I (rudely) interrupted because I was bursting with this news. And then Claire found out and hugged me. And then our Prof. heard, and she described Rumsfeld as "that buffoon." To which I could only whole-heartedly agree.
And at the end of the day, I'm *hopeful* for the first time in a very long time.
In other news: The presentation is over, and I felt like I was celebrating with Meredith & Jill over dinner. I love being here.
Schoolhouse Rock, Daily Show Style.
Thank God we're seeing some change, despite the system. Looking forward to Nancy Pelosi: Yay for a woman as Speaker of the House! (Not to mention a woman *from San Francisco.*)
South Dakota's abortion-ban measure has failed. Oregon and CA appear to likewise be rejecting measures that would have required parental notification for teens seeking abortions.
Maybe politicians will get the message.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Here are your talking points:
1) When they say, "Democrats will raise taxes," you say, "We have to, because some asshole spent all the money in the world cutting Paris Hilton's taxes and not killing Osama bin Laden." In just six years the national debt has doubled. You can't keep spending money you don't take in, that's not even elementary economics, that's just called "Don't be Michael Jackson."
2) When they say, "The terrorists want the Democrats to win," you say, "Are you insane? George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream, and nonpartisan commissions have confirmed that he's a recruiter's dream: theirs, not ours. And, he has exhausted our military without coming away with a win, the worst of both worlds." Bush inflames radical hatred against America and then runs on offering to protect us from it. It's like a guy throwing shit on you and then selling you relief from the flies.
3) When they say, "Cut and Run" or "Defeatocrat," you say, "Bush lost the war -- period." All this nonsense about "the violence is getting worse because they're trying to influence our election." No, it's getting worse because you drew up the postwar plans on the back of a cocktail napkin at Applebee's. And of course Democrats want to win, but that's impossible now that you've ethnically cleansed the place by making it unlivable, just like you did with New Orleans.
4) When they say that actual combat veterans like John Kerry are "denigrating" the troops, you say, "You're completely full of shit." ...
If I was a troop, the support I would want back home would mainly come in the form of people pressuring Washington to get me out of this pointless nightmare. That's how I would feel supported.
So when they say, "Democrats are obstructionists," you say, "You're welcome." Because with a bad administration that has bad ideas, obstruction is a good thing, just as it's a good thing to obstruct a drunk from getting his car keys. I would be happy to frame the debate as a fight between the Obstructionists and the Enablers. There's your talking point: "Vote Republican, and you vote to enable George Bush to keep ruling as an emperor." A retarded, child emperor, but an emperor.
Democrats, you've got two days to get out there and close. It's not about slogans this time. Although when it comes to slogans, accept no other from your opponent except this one: "The Republican Party: We're Sorry."
I like watching Bill Maher work.
A kind soul from my trip yesterday sent me some photos that included me.
So I then passed on some of my photos to the couple of people who were riding in front of me (and who therefore ended up in every picture).
And one person replied that he didn't have pictures, but left me with something I want to call prose poetry. Here's the accompanying mental image:
"Learning to ride a horse is akin to social dancing: one has to learn how to lead, and if that fails, then quickly adapt to follow; indecision is discouraged."
Saturday, November 04, 2006
So today was my horseback riding event. I had 28 people sign up!
The ranch was good overall: the guides helped us get situated, but also treated us like adults. The horses had some rivalries, but none of the tiffs escalated to biting or kicking. My horse's name was "Volvo."
Favorite moments: Trotting on the beach!
But now, my ass is so sore.
Unfortunately, all my pictures are of the horses' butts in front of me. So I leave you with a photo my Mom sent me from a trail ride we went on about 3 years ago.
Frightening. American anti-science, anti-intellectualism at its worst.