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It Bears Repeating.

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In light of this, the right to fight, I say this……….again.

Originally Posted:  May 10, 2011

We’ve all been asked what our top 10 movies are, right? While mine sometimes change depending on my mood or the barometric pressure, the following have consistently rotated in and out of that Top 10:

  • Braveheart
  • Jaws
  • Star Wars
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The Godfather, Parts I & II
  • True Romance
  • Aliens

First let me say I think it’s entirely possible I was a man in a past-life, and an aggressive, swashbuckling, womanizing one at that. But I digress.

If I look at just the movies above I ask myself what they all have in common?

  • Central alpha-male figures? Check.
  • Central alpha-male figures fighting against an alpha-male foe? Check. (I’m making the assumption that the shark in Jaws was a male. I will call him “Buddy”. And Nurse Ratched, well, Louise Fletcher created such an indelibly strong, frightening, gender-neutral character that at the very least she was the personification of “The Man”).

So they all have those things in common except….”Aliens”.

“Aliens”. Has there ever been a more kick-ass, archetypal, hell-hath-no-fury female character in film in recent memory? I think not. There have been attempted copy-cats, sure…but none that got is as right as Sigourney Weaver’s Oscar nominated performance as Ellen Ripley did in “Aliens”.

What fascinates me about Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley is she managed to bridge the gap between feminine and masculine power until you forgot the gender stereotypes, and with ease fit into the role of Earth-mother defending her child with the iron-will and steely courage of an unwitting soldier . And all the while….she looked damned sexy doing it.

The reason “Aliens” as a sequel worked so well is that it was no longer just an epic battle between humans and acid-blooded, 15 foot tall cockroaches with detachable, snapping jaws (ugh…still one of the scariest villains in moviedom if you ask me), but because this was a human woman fighting to keep her “adopted” daughter from dying in the clutches of the alien…and the alien, as luck would have it, was ALSO a mother defending her children…er…larvae. So you have all the action and suspense of a sci-fi thriller with the added bonus of watching the most epic of battles: two females defending the creatures within their care.

Remember Ripley’s line when she was in that gigantic robot-suit right before she deep-sixed the alien mother: “Get away from her you BITCH!” I mean, come ON…who doesn’t love a good bitch-slap???

I was thinking the other day about soldiers. Not famous ones like in the movies that I mentioned above, just grunts, troops. Just your average, every-day people who fight the wars that we’ve either told them to by drafting them, or asked them to fight with a pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top. People who go in and fight for the safety and security and well-being and national interests of people they’ve never met, on the orders of still other people they’ve never met. And all of those brave troops who actually fight in combat are only…men.

Why is that?

Has our testosterone-infused government establishment never SEEN “Aliens”?

I know, people, I know…Ripley is not a real person. And neither is the giant, phallic-headed cockroach alien (that we know of…), so I will clarify my question.

Um…just what IS the justification for not having female combat soldiers in the U.S. military?

I’m not a proponent of war. Not by a liberal-longshot. But again, I’m no pacifist. I simply believe that war of any kind should commence only when there is absolutely no other fucking option to protect the masses of innocents. When war, however, is warranted, why can’t a woman fight alongside a man?

Is it because we get our “monthlies”, our “friends” and that would make for an un-sanitary working environment? Because, you know, everyone knows how sterile and sanitary field barracks, and encampments and port-a-potties-if-you’re-lucky and ditches and caves and such are. If soldiers can carry around hand-held GPS’s, they can carry around some Tampax.

Is it because we’re emotionally unpredictable and emotionally fragile; that we can’t take the heat when we’re not in the kitchen? Riiiggghhht. Because everyone knows that while you’re in the heat of battle a woman would surely opt-out of the most hard-wired and primal of animal instincts which is to LIVE, and instead opt-IN for the lesser-known of the primal instincts which is to die while collapsed on her knees in the rubble, head in hands, shedding big, blubbery tears.

Is it because we’re…weak…physically in comparison to men? Now on this point I do not argue the merit itself; women, in most cases, are NOT as physically strong as men. But are we talking about one-on-one duels, here? Are we talking about a prison-yard scene from a B-movie in which the two opponents are encircled by the rest of the chanting group and made to fight to-the-death, or at the very least…to the shame?

Let’s face it, the list of reasons that women are given for not being allowed to engage in combat is a mile long: we’d distract the men with our feminine wiles (sorry, now that DADT has been technically eradicated – FINALLY – the issue of enticement shouldn’t hold water in terms of women/men either), we’re not courageous enough and too cautious (sorry, I’m here to tell you that courage has nothing to do with testes)…and ohhhhhh, just not enough time for the rebuttals to the faux-justifications.

In the end, hard-core military traditionalists, and well…most men… will tell you simply that a woman doesn’t harbor the necessary aggression, stamina and mental fortitude to fight in battle for the love of country. It’s not “in us”. Or to put it succinctly, “Dude…you’re a GIRL!” To those people I say: Have you ever actually seen a woman fight for someone she cares for? Someone she loves? Her honor? Her child? Would you ever want to be on the receiving end of her wrath, especially when that woman is armed with an AK-47 or a grenade launcher? Would you??

Women are nurturers by nature. I believe this to be true. It is not in our nature to voluntarily commit to harm others, regardless of the reasons.

But let me tell you this: love of country’s got nothing on love of family, of child, of personal honor. Look, women should rule the world. That is a given. War and all of its atrocities would eventually cease to exist in that scenario (another post for another day)…so let’s take baby steps.

You put a woman out there on the front lines, a nurturer – and I don’t give a damn what she’s the nurturer of back home: a child, a cat, a parrot, a goat or a plant – and she will fight like a man.

She’ll give new meaning to the term bitch-fight.

Seriously. “Aliens”. Just consider adding it to your Top 10.

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Dissonance.

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It was my favorite kind of day in Chicago. Sweatshirt and shorts weather, the perfect combination. Like chocolate covered pretzels – just sort of perfect in its dissonance. I knew when I woke up that morning I would call in sick to work. I was not sick.

It was 1997.

I did not know what I wanted to do that day, only that it was a morning I simply could not allow the same routine to exist.

I laid in my bed trying very hard not to allow the creeping feeling of guilt to lie on the pillow beside me. I instead allowed the just-fuck-it side of me to yawn and stretch and wake up. I said Hi! It’s about time you showed up, and I left a voice mail for my boss with some thinly veiled reference to things coming out of both ends of me…must have been something I ate…I should feel better tomorrow.

I lived alone. I sat up wishing I had a destination but was motivated to get up despite not having one.

I could tell through my curtains it was hazy outside, cloudy. And cooler than it was warm. This was good. I did not want the pressure of having to do something typical on a beautiful, exceedingly warm nearly Fall day such as ride a bike along the lakefront.

I stood up and got a head rush and waited for it to pass. I almost never wore my robe. But this morning I closed my bedroom door and took it off the hook. It was green, emerald-green. It is still green and I sometimes still wear it, but that was maybe the 5th time I’d ever put it on. It felt so nice and warm, and then I slipped on my slippers.

Taking probably seven steps I was standing in the middle of my living room. No noise except the vague sounds of traffic outside. I wished, deeply, that I drank coffee because that would have been the first destination. But I don’t drink coffee and never have. It sucks to not drink coffee, I thought to myself.

So I peed instead. No, man, not on the living room floor. I managed to get to the toilet. As I sat on the cold seat I thought, smelling coffee or bacon right now would be nice.

Done, I went to my refrigerator. Which was at the back end of my very long clothes closet. Which was of course just off the kitchen. So acceptable was this peculiarity in my 20’s.

Diet Pepsi was my poison, my caffeine. It is still so awesome. I opened a can and started to drink and took a step back.

The nice thing about having your refrigerator in your closet is that you can stand and stare at both and think…everything in here sucks, and have it apply to both your clothes and your food.

I made a slight belching sound and shivered at the coldness running down into my stomach.

I moved a box of crackers to get to a pair of my shorts. Then reached overhead and moved a box of stage makeup I’d had since high school to get at the comfy grey sweatshirt with no logos or words on it.

I took those and my poison and schlepped into the bathroom and got undressed. I started the shower while simultaneously brushing my teeth. I had to run the cold in the sink to ensure the hot in the shower would stay hot for longer than three minutes. I honestly have no idea if this was a factual cause and effect. But it happened once, and so I continued to do it for luck. My shower water needs to be just shy of scalding.

It was a big claw-foot tub that you almost needed a step stool to get into, and like every morning I showered I prayed, please don’t let me die getting into this thing because that would be a shitty and embarassing way to go.

While washing my hair I had two epiphanies: 1. I wasn’t even hung over and really wanted an Egg McMuffin. And 2. I was going to walk around my neighborhood and take pictures all day.

I was taking a photography class during this timeframe and I was suddenly excited that I had found the perfect justification for this day of hookie.

I rushed through my shower. I put my utilitarian underwear and bra on, khaki shorts and grey sweatshirt and blow-dried my long hair into a screaming knot. Instead of brushing it out in clumps I threw it up in a clip. A little makeup. Very little. Some blush and my ever-present lip gloss.

I was moving quickly now with purpose. Back into the hunger-closet to get my backpack. And then into the barely there little corner storage thingy in my bedroom to get my camera.

I opened the bag and began flipping through all the unused rolls of film. Yes, film. Film. The stuff Kodak used to make. Do they still make it?

Black and white. Sweet and salty.  Black and white.

I took two rolls. One Fuji and one Kodak, because I had just learned the difference between the two. I’m sure it was some subtly profound difference – but I couldn’t tell you now if you paid me.

I loaded the camera with the Fuji. I guess because it felt more exotic and leant itself to the possibility of something really cool happening. Fiji. Fuji. It’s how my mind works.

Shoved some crackers and keys in my bag, and walked quickly to the door. I banged my knee into the door jamb having not taken into account the backpack also needing to get through the opening.

Motherfuckkkkkkker, I whispered.

People had to go to work, after all, and I didn’t want to wake the poor bastards up. Skin was torn away from my knee but not bleeding so I slammed the door behind me to vent my anger.  Wow, so loud. I might as well have yelled MOTHERFUCKER at the top of my lungs.

I decided to walk North onto Broadway toward the not as nice part of my neighborhood and meander around in concentric circles from there. I had no idea if I would find anything which would be worthy of my Fuji. But there were some things. There were.

I stopped at Graceland Cemetery.  Cemeteries are usually beautiful to me and this famous one was no exception.  Through a chain-link fence bordering off construction I focused my paltry 35 mm lens on a tombstone.  Frankenstein.  That’s all it said.  Frankenstein.

A beautiful old church was being shredded apart with a wrecking ball, but the entire stained glass wall behind the altar stood alone.

Two ancient men smoking pipes and speaking to each other in what I assume was Polish.

A mobile HIV testing van.

And more, all worthy of my fictional gastrointestinal issues.

But I cannot find those pictures.

I have one.

The chain locked doors of a Pentacostal church which oddly held only evening services according to a sign on the lawn.  Two comically goliath doors were chained together.  Trying to keep the sinners out or keep them locked in?  From a half block away the wooden doors loomed absolutely black in color, shaded by an ornate archway, with the chains barely visible in the muted sun.

I knew the shot I wanted but it would not be easy to get on my manual camera.  It was a long exposure with no tripod.  I needed to hold very, uncharacteristically still.  I set my F-stop, adjusted whosas and whatsits, took a deep breath and held it in, then clicked the shutter three times.

Film.  There was no instant gratification.  No immediate affirmation of a job well or poorly done.  I waited over a week to get my photographs back from the developer.

It turned out exactly as I had hoped.

They were all worth it.

The Egg McMuffin was salty.

This, though, was my sweetest thing.

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The Salieri Complex

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible…is music. – Aldous Huxley

Music is just so powerful.  I cannot explain it.  How can something so logical and perfectly understandable on paper be transformed into pure emotion and feeling once translated via an instrument?  I shake my head.

That scene.  The one from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”…the one where scientists go to India to record the phenomenon of people chanting and singing the same sequence of notes over and over again.

That scene gave me chills the first time I saw it when I was a kid.  It still does today.  It was just a few notes.  But it evoked a very strong feeling when sung in unison by hundreds of people.

That was a weird example to get at what I’m getting at.  I am tired.  It has not been a good day.  What can I say.

I am not a musician.  I never have been.  I wanted dearly to be able to play an instrument when I was young; the piano or guitar…something.  I learned to play the Recorder in grade school like most other kids at that time.  (Incidentally, I can still play the theme from Star Wars on it).  But I never did become proficient on any instrument.

To me, at that age, I think I wanted desperately to be able to express my feelings and emotions with clarity and beauty, and doing that through music seemed to me the most natural way to do it.

I couldn’t play an instrument to create music so I thought “I’ll be a singer”.  See, often theatre and singing go together.  I wrote songs and tried singing them.  Only, haaaaaa.  I can’t sing.  I suppose I can hold a warbly tune, but only when it is comedic value you’re looking for.

I cannot cry for you, Argentina, but I can probably make you split a gut.

I found other outlets for my burgeoning expressiveness instead; theatre, dancing and writing.  I was moderately successful at these things in that they temporarily fixed my “fix”; the desire to express myself.  These things were such a high for me, but with the highs come the lows.  And during the lows, there was music.

I was so disturbed after watching “Amadeus” for the first time and thought, “Oh boy.  I know I should identify with Mozart here as the protagonist, but I’m thinking it’s really Salieri.  I get him.”

The scene in which Salieri as a very, very old man is recounting his experiences with Mozart in a time long gone by, and Mozart’s unparalleled genius in creating music and the ethereal emotion it evoked, and how he – Salieri – only wanted a small piece of the divinity he believed Mozart possessed in serving as a conduit for such sounds.

Why, God?  Salieri begged to the Heavens…why have you given me this desire but not the ability to communicate it through music?  Why??

Salieri believed it to be a punishment from God himself that he possessed the pure desire to create musical masterpieces but could not, and that Mozart while seeming to care very little for his God-given talent, could.

Salieri felt imprisoned by this desire, wishing for it either to disappear, or, the ability to magically mutate it into musical glory.

He did not receive either wish.

I identified with him very strongly.

Music has defined my life in so many overpowering ways, as it does for many people.

Certain songs take us back to a specific moment in time, a place.  Sense memory through music has proven one million times  more potent to me than that of smell, touch or even sight.   I am not alone.

Haven’t most of us heard a song that puts us instantly back into the arms of a person we loved and lost or even won, to the point where we can truly feel them, smell them, touch them at a very specific point in time?  The examples are endless.

Music is time travel.

Music speaks more clearly, more resoundingly, more universally…than any other form of personal expression known to man.  I state this as fact, not as opinion.  I dare anyone to argue this point with me.

I cannot create music, but throughout most of my life and certainly throughout the last couple of years, I have depended on it heavily to help me express or fully realize what I am feeling or thinking during times of pain or contentment or confusion or joy.

My iPod is like my own personal, little therapist.

I guard my aloneness with swords and arrows and slingshots.  I do not need much of it, but I do need it.  I crave it.  I must have it so as to bring order to chaos.

And when I am alone and my world is out of focus, skewed, wrapped in gauze…I search for sounds.

I was just searching on my iPod for something by Prince, or Bowie, or Gabriel or who knows who.  Searching.  I’m not sure how I do feel or want to feel at the moment, so the search has been difficult.

Sometimes, music picks you.  Sometimes it helps pull you out of the haze, or at least keeps you comfortable while you are in it.  And once you can get past the envy that you could never write something so simple and yet so transcendently beautiful, the fog lifts if only for a little while.

I wish I had a permanent soundtrack following me around; subtle and yet enhancing the backdrop of my life, keeping me company and alerting those around me to my moods and where my heart and head are at.  It would be so helpful.  No explanations needed.  You’d hear the music and just know.

And no one would have to talk to you in order to say “Jeez, she’s such a bitch today.” or “She is super happy!” or “Oh my God she is so SAD.” or “Nice attitude on her.  Whatevs.”  Because you would hear it a mile away.  No need for words.  It would prevent a lot of potentially uncomfortable encounters.

Perhaps Apple will invent one of those personal soundtrack devices some day.  For now, I will have to be content with ear buds and a soundtrack only I can hear.

Sometimes the music just picks you.  It is definitely not Prince, and it’s not Mozart.  But there it is.  I am suppressing my inner Salieri.

Surrendering to my inability to create something so simple and beautiful, while allowing it to take me mercifully to a place without gauze.

Billy Joel knows what I’m talking about.

Put on “repeat”.  Sleep……………………….

Dear Diary. 2.

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Back by popular demand!

That’s not true.  No one has demanded it.  It’s just something you say.

But some people mildly enjoyed the last “Dear Diary” post so here is a little follow-up.

And yes, Mom.  I used aliases.

November 15, 1980 – 12 years old

Today I almost got hit by a car.  I was on my roller skates and went down a driveway pretty fast out into the street and the car didn’t see me at first and just missed me.  I was so scared.  I can’t believe I wasn’t killed.  So just in case I die soon I decided to make a will:

To my mother and father:  I leave everything in my scrapbooks and all the pictures of me I have so that they can keep their fond memories of me.

It was pretty presumptive to assume their memories of me would be fond ones.  Ah, I guess.  I was a pretty good kid.

To my sister:  I leave everything I own, which is all the games and toys we played with together so that she might remember me.  I will always remember her.

Brings a tear to your eye that I would remember my only sibling, doesn’t it?

To my Grandparents:  Anything left over, because I love them too.

After giving my sister everything I own, “anything left over” wouldn’t be much.  But hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Also, when I die I promise to contact all of my family and friends and tell them all about Heaven.

I promised.  And I meant it.  I remember thinking that everyone else who had ever lived and died just wasn’t trying hard enough to contact their friends and families from the Great Beyond. 

It really burned my ass because I truly believed they were all stone-cold slackers.

**********

November 29, 1980 – 12 years old

Tomorrow we are going to put up our Christmas tree.  I’m so excited, I can’t wait!!  (Oh, and by the way the 52 American hostages have been in Iran for 392 days now.)

I’m getting presents soon! (World War II is over).

I’m getting presents soon!  (They’ve discovered a vaccine for polio).

I’m getting presents soon!  (Americans landed on the Moon).

Christmas (and current events). 

Priorities.  Gotta have priorities.

**********

December 28, 1980 – 12 years old

My Mom told me about the birds-and-the-bees today.  Gross.

First she asked me if I knew anything and I said “No!”, but she got the wrong idea, because I already know everything there is to know.

Ohhhhhh dear GOD I remember that day.  The day every kid dreads.  The day every PARENT dreads. 

It is just a dreaded day overall. 

No one wants to hear it and no one wants to talk about it.  But there it was staring me in the blushing, queasy face.

"The Talk" never, ever, ever, EVER looks like this.

“The Talk” never, ever, ever, EVER looks like this.

I had just come home from a slumber party at a friend’s house, and I swear to God I just knew it was going to happen that day.  I walked into the house and my sister and Dad were suspiciously absent. 

My Mom was sitting in the den doing some cross-stitching or something (maybe subconsciously of something phallic – I don’t know – just to work herself up to it) and I knew it was coming.  It was a coordinated attack.

I tried to sneak past her but she said “Hey, come here.  Let’s talk.

I froze, my tongue stuck out of my mouth in a dry heave and my eyes rolled up past my eyebrows and into the back of my brain. 

In the name of all that was Holy, what more could she teach me that the after school special-esque/Tampax-sponsored menstruation movies they show you in 6th grade PLUS the movie “Sooner or Later” with Rex Smith hadn’t already taught me??

Nothin’.  That’s what.  Nothin’!

Yes, folks. He was 17. She was 13. 1-3.  What the WHAT? I was never much into blondes. But he did make me want to take guitar lessons from a babe-a-licious, kind of androgynous, man/boy.

My Mom did a fine job in the end.  She really did.  She’s the best.

Even so, through no fault of her own, I have a vague recollection of blacking-out after hearing each of these words pass my Mother’s lips: 

  • sperm
  • excitement
  • ejaculate…and
  • lovemaking

**********

September 2, 1980 – 12 years old

Well I’m in Junior High now.  7th grade.  A lot happened over the summer.  After John, I liked Jim.  What happened was I told this one girl that I liked Jim but I shouldn’t have because she has the biggest mouth in town.  So she told her brother Dave and Dave used to be Jim’s best friend so of course he told Jim I liked him.

“…Take it, MacDonald…”

**********

July, 1981 – 13 Years old

Finally I’m a teenager!  I can’t believe it!  What a great day.  I got my own room, a clock radio, a gold necklace, a cake and then dinner!  I think I like my room best of all though.  Now I have all the privacy I want.

1.  Apparently I felt it was very nice and super-special that my parents fed me on my 13th birthday. I don’t remember food being doled out as a special treat reserved only for landmark days, but perhaps I don’t remember because of the memory loss induced by severe malnutrition during the other 364 days of the year.

2.  It seems that I was actually trying to decide on this day which was the more awesome gift:  a clock radio OR my own bedroom (in which I no longer had to sleep with my little sister).  Hmmmm.  Choices, choices.

That clock radio was awesome, though.  It was digital.  And the numbers were blue. 

And as bright as the face of the Sun. 

But not so much this kind of sun…

As this kind of sun.

It took me three weeks to figure out how to lessen the supernova brightness on that stupid-ass clock.

**********

September 2, 1981 – 13 years old

8th grade is pretty hard.  And don’t think I’m feeling sorry for myself.  (Even though I am).

I couldn’t fool myself or keep a parenthetical secret from myself.  I was my own worst best-friend.

**********

August 26, 1981 – 13 years old

I am starting to gain a little weight.  I usually weigh about 106 lbs, but yesterday I weighed 110.  Today I exercised though and by 10 pm I weighed 106 lbs again.

I am highly skeptical of this entry.  My idea of exercising at that time was doing some cutting-edge leg lifts a-la those soft-core porn (I’m sorry…I meant legitimate work-out videos) they used to air on Showtime; the ones where the women were all either intertwined with each other and licking their lips and stuff, or very creepily into…themselves.

So unless I was sweating it out in the wrestling sauna at the old high school, sigh, I did not drop four pounds in eight hours. 

110 pounds.  Egad.  I kissed that bitch goodbye a long time ago.

Alright, I’m including this one just, cuz.  Seriously.  Come on.  (Skip to about 1:08).  Yessss.  So very, very aerobic.


**********

February 28, 1985 – 16 years old

My sister and I have been planning for a while to get my mom a message recorder.  The cheapest ones we’ve seen are like $70.  We always plan on getting big things for presents and then we end up with no money, and people get no gifts and everyone is sad.

How about a nice scented candle?  Maybe some earrings?  A homemade, moist and delicious Duncan-Hines cake from a box?  No way.  She birthed us and it was either the moon or nothing for my Mother. 

A 30 lb answering machine costing a week’s pay from me and a month’s allowance from my sister – or nothing. 

Better to make her and everyone else we knew sad on their birthdays with no gifts at all than to get them something shitty and cheap and yet personally thoughtful. 

THAT’S how much my sister and I loved my mother and the people around us.  That’s how we rolled.

**********

March 12, 1985 – 16 years old

Nothing much happened today. Unless you want to count the fact that he smiled at me.

I remember that day.  That was a great day.

**********

March 13, 1985 – 16 years old

Last week went great, this week is terrible.  I’ll probably fail my chem test tomorrow.  Oh well.  Life goes on.

Sure.  Yeah.  Life goes on.  Who cares.  So what.  I could see the bigger picture.  Wise beyond my years, knowing success or failure was in my control and ready to accept the blame if failure should come to pass.  Ho hum.  Life goes on.

**********

March 14, 1985 – 16 years old

I did fail my chem test!  Shit.  I have no time to study, or do ANYTHING, or see my friends because of this stupid play I’m in!

See, where I went to high school they physically forced you to act in these plays that sucked up all of your study time and energy and made you chronically unavailable to your family, friends and boyfriends. 

Way to man-up, Blamey Blamerson.

**********

July, 1985 – 17 years old

Well I’m 17 today.  It’s the first time I’ve been home for my birthday in a long time.  I went downtown with some friends (which my parents didn’t like to begin with) and then I came home 45 minutes late so of course they were PISSED.  They told me I only care about myself and that I screw around and keep pushing and pushing them.  They were over-the-top mad.  So ridiculous.  Me and my parents are beyond hope.

I had forgotten how awful my parents were to me.  I should have gone through the emancipation process as I had planned shortly after turning 15.  

Were they dumb?  Didn’t they remember no kid had cell phones then (it was 1980freaking5…hello??)  and that a teenage girl should be allowed a minimum of an hour grace period on her birthday curfew even with no notification of any kind that the grace period will be enacted? 

On the drive home via Westbound I-55 I remember very distinctly looking at the city from the passenger side and thinking just how beautiful it was and what a great time I’d had. 

And then it occurred to me just how fucking dead I was going to be when I got home. 

Eh.  Yin and Yang, my friends…Yin and Yang.


**********

Coyote Ugly

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The absolutely, utterly, repulsively insane, conservative, right-wing extremist movement in this country (which is becoming ever increasingly more right-wing mainstreamist) – encapsulated so beautifully in this modern Republican Party – wants to control my body.  A woman’s body.  Any woman’s body.

Every woman’s body.

And I mean in a baaaaaad way.

Really bad.

Like, wanna-lay-me-down-and-force-objects-into-my-vagina-make-me-tell-my-employer-if-I’m-going-to-need-birth-control-for-sex- instead-of-endometriosis-keep-an-aspirin-firmly-between-my-knees-kind-of-way.

SAMPLE EXHIBITS:

A. The Blunt Amendment

B. Rush Limbaugh

C. Personhood

D. Rick Santorum

E.  Mitt Romney

F. Foster Friess – Santorum Political Backer

G. Bob McDonnell – Virginia Governor

H. Darrell Issa – House of Representatives

If you think that the phrase “war on women” is merely conveniently concocted Liberal hyperbole, I have to ask what you’re smoking.  I bet it it some gooooood shit.

Let’s lay just some of it out here.

I want to get straight what these people (i.e. Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, Darrell Issa, Roy Blunt, Mitt Romney, various Republican-led state legislatures, Republican leaders of Congress, et al) and their political party and zealot followers want American women to succumb to and accept:

  1. We are not supposed to want sex other than for the sole purpose of procreation.
  2. We should keep an aspirin between our knees in order to keep them closed together so as not to let any male genitalia into our general genital area, and certainly not male genitalia that we are not married to and without the express purpose of conceiving a child.
  3. Any employer should be able to opt out of covering birth control pills to prevent pregnancy based on any non-specific moral code that employer spews forth.  Every sperm and egg is sacred, don’t you know.
  4. In order to have our insurance cover The Pill, it should be legal for our employer to ask us WHY we are being given this prescription and if it is to prevent pregnancy or for another medical condition.
  5. Our employer should be able to morally, legally and practically object to our insurance covering a prescription of The Pill if it is merely for its primary function of preventing pregnancy.
  6. Should we become pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy (for whatever reason that pregnancy is unwanted and/or untenable) and presumptively in part because we now have Draconian barriers to accessing The Pill, we – as well as our physicians – should be prosecuted should we actually have an abortion.
  7. A newly fertilized egg inside or outside of our bodies should not only have legal “personhood” rights, it should have more legal rights than we do.
  8. We should practice abstinence-only to avoid pregnancy.
  9. We should not like sex for the sake of only sex – unless  you are married.
  10. We should not want sex simply for the pleasure and intimacy of it – unless you are married.
  11. Every time we have sex we should be ready to birth a baby nine months later.
  12. If we do not want to birth a baby, we still should not have access to an insurance-covered medicine designed to prevent that baby’s very conception.
  13. You want congressional panels of men, only men, and most of them religious clergy, to be the only voices heard during a debate on this issue.
  14. If we do not want to birth a baby, we should not have sex at all.  Ever.  Not ever.
  15. We should not be able to make the decision to have sex simply because we like it while simultaneously making the responsible decision to not become pregnant at all through the use of insurance-covered birth control pills, but should instead defer that decision to our employer or the Pope or Rick Santorum or Rush Limbaugh.
  16. Should we become pregnant you want to force us to bear that child by repealing Roe v Wade; a choice you will make for us based exclusively upon your own religious beliefs and your interpretation of God’s will.
  17. Until you can repeal Roe v Wade and while it is still legal to have an abortion (even though you didn’t want us to have fair access to medication to prevent the pregnancy to begin with) you want to force us to do the following things regardless of the fact that we have already come to our decision through significant soul-searching and consideration of all personal factors involved:
  • Lie on a table, have a doctor spread our legs and forcibly, against our will, insert a 7-inch vaginal ultrasound wand into our vaginas.
  • You want the doctor to point the ultrasound screen at our faces and describe to us to the fetus in detail.
  • You want the doctor to crank up the volume on the fetal heartbeat.
  • If we don’t want to see and hear the fetus, we might still have the option to close our eyes and sing “lalalalala” loudly with our fingers in our ears, although I suspect that forcible eyelid and arm restraint legislation is pending.
  • If after this physical and emotional rape by our doctor we still want to have the abortion, we must watch an actual abortion taking place by, what??  Ostensibly forcing us to sit in between another woman’s legs while the procedure is being done??

In addition:

  1. You want men everywhere to be given the right to have their Viagra covered by insurance, when the SOLE reason for taking it is to ensure a raging erection whenever they want one.
  2. You want those men with the raging erections to be able to have sex with the woman of their choosing knowing that the culmination of their medically enhanced super-libido may result in an unwanted pregnancy with a woman who, married or not, who was not given the option to prevent that pregnancy through the use of an equally-insurance-covered medication: The Pill.
  3. You are fine with those men with the raging erections being responsible for massive environmental damage due to billions of dropped aspirin littering the Earth.

Do I have it right?

Okay.  Thought so.

Hey, Conservative-Right folks of America…psssst….I have a suggestion for you.

No, really.  Come here.  Let me whisper it to you.

Don’t be a-scared…closer.

Good.  Thanks.

Now listen up……..

Why don’t you forget about screwing-over women, and go screw yourselves instead.

Not very ladylike of me?

The time for niceties has passed.

This isn’t about religious freedom as you proclaim.  You can’t whine “GOD is on MY Side!” every time you want to justify your flagrant misogyny.   It is about the opposite of freedom.  It is about shackling women with chastity belts per whatever religion you espouse.

This isn’t about your faux-outrage over how your tax dollars are being used to subsidize some woman’s birth control or Planned Parenthood or abortions when you don’t want it subsidizing those things.  Here’s a news-flash for you:  we live in a democratic collective.  We all pay for things we consider abhorrent or immoral via our tax dollars.  All of us.  Not just you.  It is the price we pay to help fulfill as much freedom and equality as possible – for all.

This isn’t about smaller government.  It is about the most massive, tyrannical intrusion into personal liberty since the pre-civil war era treatment of African-Americans.

This isn’t about protecting the unborn.  It is about protecting your funding from right-wing extremist/lobbyists and pandering to the special interests who give you and your representatives big, big money.

This isn’t about morality, because what you and I and millions of others just like me consider moral isn’t even closely related…at all.  Just because you say you and you alone are right and have a direct pipeline into God’s most private thoughts and access to the divine interpretation behind every word of the Bible and Constitution – does not make it so.

This is about SEX.

The controlling of women through controlling our sex lives.

You want to control our reproductive rights – and reproductive parts – in every way.

Every way.

Your singular goal is to shame women into making the choices you want them to make.

Are you a woman who wants, simply wants, to have sex?  You are most assuredly a slut.

Are you a woman who wants to have sex but also wants to prevent a pregnancy from occurring through the use of birth control covered by your health insurance?  You are definitely a slut.

“Shame the women!” you screech through your heavenly anointed megaphones.

Shame us into acquiescing to your bizarre mindset of what women should be and how we should act.

No one encapsulates this GOP mantra better than Rick Santorum:

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.”

“Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

And this absurdity isn’t coming from just Santorum (So sorry you had to abstain from the Presidency, Ricky.  Really, such a shame) or the religiously fanatical base of the GOP.  It is not.  It is now becoming mainstream Republican dogma.  More and more of these pathetic thoughts and bills and propositions come forward every day.

And you know what your backing is for these neanderthalic tactics?

The Bible.

That’s it.  The Bible.

The Bible.  Written thousands of years ago; when if a woman had her period she was deemed unclean and forbidden to leave her home without first sacrificing a goat or a chicken.  When she was the express property of her husband.  When she was fit for little else than to serve as a baby making machine for whichever man decided she was his possession.

The Bible; ordering women to miraculously somehow remain perpetually chaste and virginal…lest our sexuality show through and tempt the men-folk.

The Bible.  Written by men.  For men.

That is IT.  That’s who’s got your back.

Hillary Clinton got it dead-right.  All over the world, and in the name of whatever your religion is, you want to control women by:

  • dictating what we wear
  • what we think
  • what we can learn
  • how we have sex
  • when we should have sex
  • for what reasons we should have sex
  • how much we should enjoy sex
  • whether we should be allowed insurance coverage on a medication that will prevent pregnancy resulting from having sex
  • what we can do with the pregnancy inside our bodies which resulted from sex
  • who we must tell intensely personal information to regarding acquiring pregnancy-preventing medication so we can have baby-free sex.

And on and on and on.

It is sickening.

You Bible-blinded sheep.  You mindless, amoral, weak-minded sheep.

No religious doctrine – whether I agree with its content or not – which was written exclusively by men, exclusively for men – will be the reason that you get to control what I do with my body.

Generations upon generations of women have fought tougher foes than the likes of you in the name of personal autonomy, freedom and the right to control what goes in, and what comes out of, our vaginas.

You all mean business.

You are passing laws which thrust these perversions upon the inherent liberty of American women.

This isn’t just feeble-minded shock-jock talk anymore.

You want to push women and our human rights and dignity back 100, 500, 2,000 years.

You are all insane.

You know the definition of insanity:  you keep repeating the same action over and over again while expecting different results.

So you are thinking, what, Rightwingers???  That NOW, in the year 2012, is the time that your attempt to literally control a woman’s body and spirit will finally succeed despite the fact that is has failed in every attempt which has come before it?

Did all of the top Right-Wingbats in this country get together and discuss it?

Here’s how I imagine the conversation went:

Wingbat #1:  Hey, you know, a lot of people are really pissed off that Barack Hussein Obama was elected President.  People are out of work.  The stock market is in the shitter.  Gas prices are high.  Our followers are terrified of terrorists and foreigners and, well, everything.  Especially Obama.  He’s not even a Christian.  He might be Hitler.  Logic tells us it is time to strike….WOMEN.  Let’s get ’em.  Let’s ride this wave.  We can get the masses to agree with anything now.  So…you know what I think?

Wingbat #2:  No.  What?

Wingbats #3 & #4:  I bet I know (chuckle, chuckle…)

Wingbats #5-#50:  Start repealing women’s rights to their own bodies, start denying them control over their own medical care and reproduction, and start forcing them to know their place, you know, before all that “women’s lib” shit happened.  We can’t legally stone them to death, YET, so let’s get conservative men…hell, let’s get conservative WOMEN to start shaming all women over being women who want to have sex!

Wingbat #1:  HA!!  You guys are so smart.  Yes.  Exactly.  Now is the time.  It will work this time.  We have God and a lot of Houses of Representatives on our side.  There is no way we can lose.  What could possibly go wrong?

Wingbats #1-#50:  Let’s show those slutty bitches who’s boss.  Hooooorrrrrayyyyyyyy!

You should drop all of this now.

You won’t, because you lack the humility to admit that women will never settle for anything less than complete control of our minds and bodies.

You won’t drop this.

But you should.

If you don’t, I swear to the God you believe in that a revolution will play out before your very eyes.  It is already starting.

Stop messing with this.  Retreat.  Run away.

Or it’s gonna get ugly.  Really ugly.  Coyote ugly.

You’re not fooling anyone.

It is about sex.  

Why extremists always focus on women, remains a mystery to me, but they all seem to.

It doesn’t matter what country they’re in, or what religion they claim, they all want to control women, they want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions that we make about our own health and our own bodies.

Yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world.”

– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the right-wing extremists who have taken on the women of America ( and awakened a sleeping giant).

Spinderella

Posted on

One of the funnier things I have seen on television is this scene from “Arrested Development” where Lucille 2, played by Liza Minelli, is sauntering herself into a clinic for treatment of her vertigo.  It then cuts to Lucille 2 leaving the clinic “cured” and running into a man arriving at the clinic for his own treatment, and well, things get dicey.

Okay maybe you can only appreciate the extreme humor of that scene if you actually suffer from it.

VERTIGO (DEFINITION):  The condition by which your balance and physical stability is compromised apparently due to some loose-piece-of-shit-eating-calcium or somethingorother in your inner/middle ear which enters and gets stuck in a part of the ear in which it does not belong and bangs around in that wrong place, wreaking havoc with your sense of motion – essentially creating the feeling of what you’re certain the brown acid must have been like at Woodstock ’69.

Hi!  I have Vertigo.  I was diagnosed with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo).

I have had this condition for years, enduring for the most part only short-lived bouts of it.  Sometimes is hangs on a bit longer.

This time it is the latter of those.

I woke up abruptly in the middle of the night a while ago while on my left side, decided I needed to know what time it was RIGHT THEN for some reason, whipped my head to the right to look at the clock – and whhhhooooooooossssshhhhhhh – there it was.

The entire room started spinning violently.  I grabbed hold of the covers and side of the bed and held on for dear life, gritting my teeth.  It was several minutes until the spinning completely stopped.  It was the worst it had been since the first time it happened to me around 8 years ago.

It has settled down.  I can certainly function normally.  After I’ve been awake and up for a while I forget about it.

But then I do something reckless like tilt my head backward to chug a Diet Pepsi or lie down without propping my head up on 12 pillows first…and there she is, that bitch.

Doing sit-ups at the gym is full of hilarity and fun!  I pop in my headphones, rifle through my iPod to choose a song that enhances the mood such as “Rubber Band Man” or “Stuck in the Middle with You” – and wait.

My head has to be in the offending position for a fairly prolonged period of time (15-20 seconds) before it happens.

If I lie prone or tilt my head back and keep it there…at first it feels fine.  Then I get all cocky thinking, hey, it’s gone.  But I know better:

  1. My eyes feel it first.  Almost like they start getting heavy and I close them.
  2. Then a pulsating starts in my brain and the whooshing sound starts in my ears.  Maybe it’s my heartbeat.  I don’t know.
  3. Then the spins start.  If you’ve ever been drunk, pretty damn drunk, and you plop down on your bed and stare at the ceiling and have gotten the spins – that’s it.  Only without the fun and mayhem of the drinking beforehand.
  4. It gets worse and worse, culminating in a full-out your-drunk-with-the-spins-while-at-the-same-time-on-the-tilt-a-whirl-at-the-carnival type feeling.
  5. Then it starts to subside.  It lessens.  It slows.  Eventually it stops, like it never happened.
  6. Until later if I tilt my head backward or lie down again, in which case – yipppeee – it basically starts all over.

When I went to physical therapy for this condition years ago I FREAKED OUT on the poor intern, so sure was I that it would never go away and would happen constantly every minute of the day no matter what I was doing (not the case), and verbally accosted her with:

“How am I supposed to LIVE??  What the fuck am I supposed to DO for the rest of my life…take the BUS?!?”

(That poor girl.  I really dislike buses.  The only time I took a bus regularly, ever in my life, was when downtown Chicago flooded in 1992 – underground.  Remember that Chicagoans?  No subway. Had to take the bus to work from the far North Side to Michigan & Randolph every day.  Man that sucked.)

I feel no symptoms of vertigo while I am driving.  Thankfully I do not drive staring up at the ceiling or lying down.

That very patient intern gave me some maneuvers to do (this and this) which either completely eradicate the dizziness or significantly lessen it.

I did one of them on a park bench once, after leaning my head backward to catch a frisbee triggered it.

When you see people made of clay doing this in public, you’ll know why.

Some day relatively soon, as history has proven, I will wake up and it will be magically gone again.  And it might be months until it rears its ugly head.

What really pisses me off though, is that it’s prohibiting me from pursuing a career in so many things like for instance, figure skating.

How could I perform one of those pretty tilty-head spins?

Come on.  If my vertigo is acting up I cannot do that.

Because I would look like this…

My secret dream of becoming the first 43-year-old, never-trained, never-before-ice-skated Olympic Silver Medalist (I am realistic…Gold at my age would be difficult) in solo or pairs ice skating can never be realized.

It makes me bitter.

And it makes it difficult to write.

I always write while sort of semi-laying on my left side. I don’t like to sit straight up at all while writing.  I am a lounger.

So I haven’t felt much like writing in a damn long time.  But I caved and have been sitting up writing this as if I have a 2×4 shoved up (noooo, not shoved up that) the back of my shirt with my head duct-taped to it.

But it is not at all conducive to creativity.

So if you don’t mind I am going to assume my normal Cleopatra-esque writing position here, reclining on my left side with my head tilted to the left, hoping the dizzies will keep at bay –  because I have been dying to tell you all this one thing that  happened:

h qwpeoi hgpajas ;lhgk.

lkdl lwkneu Piuuake lkwp oiue;lksntnbs;lkjsd.   Destiny lsadfoidE!!!!  Lhkasdkf[p.  l;kjd.  lads0ufgh’sdlkj@@R%.  HA!  Right!? ;lskdfo9lkhetr.

LJlkdf.  &4e8#$dafkj8.  angels singing 0o9e3r4u  daljgj384  adfj[og8add. *&3.  O(dlkfa. =profound 4dlkaf*.  og[a=adfouk.

*&4ew a’w33rmD 0)(*r  WEr9jd’fa09832  dsl never the same kjfa0-9rk=((87r)(r#$.  )98r39kjfd.  It was (*RJjtrLEUjh;ds life changing (ri;lfgnNcbbvnbk, ever.

Hold on…sitting back up now.  Okay.  Okay.  Definitely spinny but not too bad.  That was not as bad a spin session I don’t think.

Soooo….can you BELIEVE that HAPPENED?!  Seriously?  Seeing that changed my life forever and I hope it has as great an impact on you as it did on me.  I had to share it with you.  Please take it to heart.

Ah, it feels good to be back.

Disclaimer: This Entire Post is a Disclaimer.

Posted on

The Big 3-0.

Ha.  No, not my age.  As if…

No, it’s just since last April when I began “Hippielib” I’ve made 29 posts.  I’m kind of itching to make 30 for some reason.

I have nothing particularly burning to say, so I’m thinking I will just leave my computer up to this screen and throughout the day write what pops into my head, thusly getting the 30th post out of the way.

I know what you’re thinking – this will be fasccccinnnating:

My hands get really dry in the winter, but there is no real hope of rectifying that situation.  I hate hand lotion of any kind.  I put it on and feel the soothing, yet painfully stinging, relief of the cool lotion and within five minutes I have to wash it off which only exacerbates the problem.

It just feels – weird: slippery and oily and icky. It gives me the heebies.

I accidentally bought some sexy-dance-club-slut type lotion last time – with flashy, sparkly flecks in it – which I suppose doesn’t entice me to end my lotion aversion.

*****

Spongebob genuinely makes me laugh.  Dora The Explorer does not.

*****

I take for granted how wonderful life is when I have my over the counter reflux meds in abundance.  I realize how bad a day can suck when I’m out and forget to buy them.

For dinner tonight I wanted to have stuffed peppers with red sauce, with a side of tomatoes, to be washed down with a gallon of orange juice.  Oh well, not tonight. Not tonight.

*****

My kids have not, and will not, stop talking about Christmas and what they want next year from Santa.  They won’t stop drawing pictures of Santa and the reindeer.  They keep taping pictures of these things to every window in the house.

They went to bed last night asking if I could call Santa to tell them about the cool new toy they saw on a commercial, and I had to make many trips to their room to tell them to zip it.

They wouldn’t stop, man.

My last trip up the stairs to their room led me to proclaim in a very deadpan tone: “Christmas is Dead”.  Then I turned out the lights and walked out with finality.

I don’t feel even a little bit bad about it.

*****

I have never, and will never, have the desire to go on a cruise.

*****

I want to take a 15 hour-long nap, and when I wake up I want it to be the same time on the same day as when I began the nap.  I do not understand why I am not allowed to do this.

*****

I really want to take a dance class with a partner.  Like a Spanish or Big Band dance class.  Maybe that’s so “Swingers”, so 15 years ago, but I don’t care.  I want to.  It would be so money.

*****

I hate money and everything it stands for and represents.  I hate how having a lot of it or having very little of it or having just enough of it makes people act in ways that are unbecoming a human being.

I would like to have more money so I can stop writing sentences like this.

*****

Oh my  God.  I just opened a bag of what I thought was lemon flavored licorice.  It’s mango, not lemon.  That is some seriously gag-inducing crap.

*****

Some creepy guy at the gym today came up to me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to hear the joke of the day.  I said “Uh, okayyy…”.  He then proceeded to tell me three very off-color Jewish jokes, one of them about why Jewish women prefer their men to be circumcised.

When I said “Stop”, he said, “It’s okay, a Jewish friend of mine told me those.”… and walked away.

Here’s my joke of the day:  You’re a dick.

*****

My nearly 4-year-old son will do everything in his power to avoid going to the bathroom.  He dances around and winces and holds it.  When I repeatedly coax him to go, and tell him he will feel better when he does, he gets MAD. “I’m just dancin’!!!”.

Okay, son, samba away.

He then eventually runs like an insane person to the bathroom at the last possible minute, finishes and comes out mad at ME that he peed “…a little not in the toilet”.

I understand the deflection of his poor choices onto me so as to avoid any responsibility for pee on the bathroom floor.  But what I don’t understand is why it still doesn’t sink in that he can avoid this situation altogether?

I don’t get it.

*****

I don’t know, much like crappy beer –  after 10 or so pieces – this mango licorice isn’t quite as bad.

Ta-daaa!  My 30th Post.  Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

Now let’s move on to 31 and win there.

(Disclaimer to the Disclaimer:  I apologize for the dreck above.  But sometimes you feel like a post, sometimes you don’t).

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