Monthly Archives: August 2012

Excuses, Excuses, Or Why We Are LAME!!!!!!!

 

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Sorry about the long absence, Ladies and Gents. We have been busy (Yes, even Kiki!), sick and perhaps a bit lazy.

Kiki:

I spent the week writing, tailoring, shopping, buying lots of crappy free ebooks from BookBub to load my Kindle with so that I have something to waste my time with while away and reading (Oh yes I am!). I am reading Odd Apocalypse (don’t judge!) by Dean Koontz to review for Toonari Post and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes for my book club. Don’t let my productivity fool you. I am still my TV obsessed self. I have watched a whole season of Lost Girl. It’s not really my thing. I mean I don’t really do the whole orphaned-P.I.-Succubus-meets-Wolf-and-human-doctor-while-solving-murders-and-saving-the-Fae-from-war thing. But I just can’t stop watching it.

Anyway. Goals. I think I accomplished half of one goal. I finished my book club book. No word on the Visa, so I think we are going to wing it.

New Goals: 

1) Read a fiction and non-fiction book 2) Watch less TV (I gotta kick the habit!)

Rachel:

I am sick! Sick, sick, sick! I just knocked my water onto the floor dramatically because I was attempting to sweep up crumbs on the table. That is how coherent and smooth I am. So my goals.

I did complete one book: The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins, I sort of solved my credit card issue in a roundabout way, and I did complete moving in. Hurray me! 2.5 out of three!

New goals:

1)Read another book! 2) Get everything sorted for the trip 3) Get healthy.

 

Categories: Adventure, Books, Life, Nerd, Procrastination, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Brief Blog (Of Which The Title May Surpass In Lengthiness) Detailing My Busy, Busy, Busy Life, Observations On Natural Migraine Remedies, Being Forced To Prepare An Array Of Meats And Our Upcoming Trip

By: Rachel Womek

 

Oh, Constant Reader’s! How my heart hath yearned for your sweet embrace! Joking aside, it has been awhile! Moving has occurred, madness ensued, progress has been made and unmade. Yesterday through this morning i had a massive migraine which was only cured after laying on the floor of the ladies at my work, then downing a double latte and two Excedrin Migraines, I know they are not good for me but what can you do when you have to work? I also did some EFT, which helps. There’s this herb called Feverfew that is a natural remedy for migraines and you make it into a tea but it is so very disgusting that it only makes me nauseated which only serves to worsen the migraine.  And word to the wise, sugar makes the flavor worse!

Other than moving I’ve been reading, The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins, watching the IT Crowd, and cleaving up enormous quantities of meat that I might better serve my canine overlord. Ah, the life of an adventurer! Speaking of adventure Egypt is less than a month away! I’m having mixed feelings about that, though the general undertone is one of excitement.

I better wrap things up, Kiki is coming to get me any minute now. Happy Monday Constant Readers!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Lot Of Nothing In The Name Of Procrastination And The News…

By Kiki Keane

Rachel is still MIA. She has moved into her new place, but is without internet until tomorrow. I have been busy shopping for the trip and trying not to die in this terrible heat. I am sitting in my Papasan trying to protect my cup of coffee from my caffeine loving cat, Alia Atreides (Alia or Ollie for short) and studiously avoiding reading my book club book, Istanbul Passage. I want to read it. I do. I just … I’m a champion procrastinator. And lazy. (I think we have more than established that fact on this blog.) In fact, I am writing this post not because I have anything to say, but because I am avoiding the 133 pages I have to read today. If the procrastination goes as planned, I will have 266 pages to read tomorrow or the entirety of the book to read on Saturday.

I finished my orientation, or onboarding as the folks at Toonari call it, on Tuesday, which means that I can/should start turning out stories. I might try to get that War Tax piece we mentioned a few months back published on Toonari before I go. No one else seems particularly interested in it.

Besides shopping and studiously avoiding the things I should be doing, I have also seriously considered and decided to get rid of my Facebook account. I really love social media. I love being able to connect with all kinds of people all over the world. However, Facebook has been making me claustrophobic lately. Also, it’s a time suck. I sometimes feel that way about Twitter, but Twitter has been more useful than Facebook. Twitter has allowed me to connect with journalists, activists and others around the world, most of whom seem willing to help each other with their various pursuits. That does not mean that I won’t be purging some accounts that I follow. I will be sticking to a few friends, the news, activists and journos. That may only get rid of 100 or so accounts, but probably a 1000 or more tweets a day. I love Scott Baio, but I don’t care about his, or any of his fans, junk drawers.

And the news:

1) Herehere and here are Richard Engel’s latest on Syria. And here is a piece by CNN’s Ben Wedeman. Also, Assad has picked a new PM. This article is from NBC News (formerly MSNBC) and includes a few other pieces on Syria. And Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to replace Kofi Annan as the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria.

2) Libya has picked Magarief to be president.

3) The murder trial of Gu Kailai started and ended today.

4) Here you will find the hottest places on Earth.

5) In Mali militias train to oust Islamists.

6) This isn’t news, but it’s an interesting article written by Douglas Preston about the time he spent in Italy trying to solve a string of 14 murders committed by a serial killer dubbed “The Monster of Florence.” He wrote a book about it called The Monster of Florence.

 

 

Categories: Adventure, Books, Life, Media, Nerd, Procrastination, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is A Truth Universally Acknowledged That When One Is In Need Of A New Pair Of Pants No Store Within A 300 Mile Radius Will Have A Single, Solitary Pair In Your Size…

By Kiki Keane

Ugh! I’ve dropped several dress sizes this year, which means that I have to do the thing I dread the most: Shop. I hate shopping. I really, really do. I thought I would love it. I thought things would be easier. Sad truth is, it still takes going to every store within a 300 miles radius to find a single pair of jeans in my size! Where did they all go? Everything below an 8 that does not show one’s ass-crack or cut off one’s circulation have disappeared from the shelves of New Mexican stores. Also, size 6 shoes. They have all vanished. I suspect everyone has been replaced by body snatching pod-people with large feet. Or maybe (Gulp!) I’m the pod-person…

Okay. Enough grumbling.

I really wish that I had something interesting to write about, but my life is currently uneventful. (I know. I know. Enjoy it while I can!) One would think with all this downtime, I would find something productive to do. I have not. I have not studied Arabic. I have not read more than 30 pages in a book. I have not read my book club selection. I have not exercised. Mostly, I just move from my bed to my Papasan and back with a few trips to the kitchen. Okay. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve made some trips to the library for books I most likely won’t read. I have also gone on a wild book hunt for used mass market copies of my favorite noir novels. (I can handle anything except an extended period without my hardboiled private dicks and femmes fatales.)  I came up mostly empty. I can find them in trade and ebook form online, but trade are big and sometimes heavy and I just can’t carry all that with me on my travels. And there is just something repulsive about reading classic noir on a kindle. However, I did find my favorite Science Fiction novel, Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, in a first edition Dell mass market. It’s a little musty and little worse for wear, but at least I’ll be able to take it with me! I’ll also be able to have my favorite spy (007) with me.

Needless to say, all this moving from bed to chair to bed has left little time for news gathering. I am not proud. However, I have been paying some attention. Here and here are the latest from Richard Engel who is still in Syria.

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Regarding: “Gay Is Not The New Black”

By: Rachel Womek

Normally I don’t respond to this sort of nonsense but this blog was recommended to me by a Christian friend of mine and I couldn’t resist penning a response. This blog is so offensive and rife with inaccuracies I don’t even know where to begin. At the beginning seems the rational choice…In this rebuttal I will examine and refute the following arguments made by the author of this essay. The first claim I will address is that there is no historical basis for same-sex marriage (Baucham, 2012). in fact there is. The second argument presented in this piece that  I will refute is that the fight for same sex marriage is not a civil rights issue (Baucham, 2012). The third fallacy presented in this panoply of misinformation is that members of the LGBTQ community are ineligible for minority status due to the richness of human sexuality that defies simple definition (Baucham, 2012). Baucham’s fourth argument is nothing more that absurd semantics, a desperate attempt to skirt around the entire issue (2012). In his fifth argument the author further entangles himself in garbled and unintelligible reasoning. He repeatedly refers to logic without seeming to grasp the concept in any of its forms (Baucham, 2012). Finally he surrenders any shred of credibility he may have otherwise clung to with that infamous Christian Right argument (Baucham, 2012). Gay marriage is a Civil Right and I will demonstrate that fact conclusively.

 

According to Baucham the struggle for marriage equality is a strategy the purpose of which, among other things, is to “ undermine thousands of years of human history” (2012, para 1). This statement could not be more inaccurate, from both a historical and an anthropological perspective. Michael G Peletz of the American Anthropological Association Elaborates:

 

Heterosexual monogamy, though statistically common (at least as an ideal) both historically and cross-culturally, is by no means the only form of marriage that human societies have seen as viable, legitimate, or sacred. The historical and ethnographic record is replete with evidence documenting the existence of heterosexual marriages entailing polygyny, polyandry and what are sometimes referred to as polygyandrous arrangements (such as used to exist among the Nayar), as contributors to this AN series noted last May. Also well documented for many societies in the world are same-sex marriages that enjoy sanctified legitimacy and occur “alongside” heterosexual unions that they neither threaten nor undermine (2006. para 2).

This author is therefore uncertain what portion of human history Baucham is referring to. Perhaps, post-Catholic European history? Considering the enormity of human history one can only guess that some extreme historical localization has taken place, either that or Baucham is simply ignorant of history beyond that of industrialized North America and Europe. Regardless, there is simply no basis for his historical precedence claim.

Next Baucham goes on to claim that marriage equality is not a civil rights issue (2012). According to the Oxford-English Dictionary the definition of Civil Rights are: “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality”. Is Baucham’s claim therefore that members of the LGBTQ community are not citizens? Is marriage not a political and social freedom? Would the right to marriage not give same-sex couples a footing of equality with different-sex couples? There is no interpretation of this definition that allows same-sex marriage to fall outside the net of a civil rights claim. Citizens, Homo sapiens, are being denied something. That something is the right for their union to be recognized by the government and access to the benefits that recognition entails. Same-sex marriage is a Civil Right, to deny it one must redefine the term. Perhaps add the word heterosexual in front of the word citizen?

The next inane argument presented by Baucham is that there is no test for gayness. In his own words:”The first problem with the idea of conflating ‘sexual orientation’ and race is that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self identification” (2012, para 5).May I point out the obvious? Neither is heterosexuality. I for one feel a great relief that humans don’t walk around with signs on our foreheads that say: Hetero, Homo, Bi, Trans…etcetera.(Although that might expedite the mating process…) May I point out something else? Sexuality is a biological construct, race is a social construct. While homosexuality and bisexuality are rampant across the animal kingdom “race” is unique to humanity. The American Anthropological Association has this to say about the concept of race:

Historical research has shown that the idea of “race” has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that “race” as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor (1998, para 3).


Contrary to Baucham’s claim it isn’t so easy to determine what “race” any given individual belongs to. Our interpretation of phenotype may have little or nothing to do with an individual’s genotype, ancestry, ethnicity, or identity. That humans have a tendency to consider individuals with a different phenotype than their own as Other is a great barrier to human equality. As is the current tendency to view those with different sexualities as Other. No matter how you swing it the result is social disparity. Absurdly enough Baucham goes on to state:  “Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?” (2012, para 7). This psuedo-argument represents such convoluted reasoning and misdirection this author feels she would be remiss not to mention it. The obvious difference is that the hypothetical woman claiming to be Native American would be motivated because she perceives some sort of benefit from the deception. What would be the benefit of maintaining a deception of homosexuality?

And, really? The ol’ Pedephilia argument? Really? Pedophiles can rape the same sex, they can rape the opposite sex. Does it really matter? Nobody is condoning pedophilia. Rape is rape is rape. The rape of a child is a truly horrific thing and has nothing to do with consensual sexual behaviors between morally conscious adults; absolutely nothing.

The next set of arguments presented in this argument are so ridiculous that they would be laughable did they not highlight a deep seated bias against all non-heterosexual people.

An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic (Baucham, 2012, para 8).


Once again Baucham, seems to be missing the point entirely and throwing in a few nonsensical assumptions to boot. The parallel is that inter-”racial” marriages used to be illegal based on an irrelevant factor, the “race” of the individuals in question, today same-sex marriage is illegal in many states due to an irrelevant factor, the sex of the individuals in question. See the comparison? The nonsensical assumption is that the purpose of marriage is to breed. People reproduce all the time and they seem to manage it just fine without marriage. Conversely many married couples never reproduce. While reproduction can be one purpose for marriage the primary purpose in industrialized Western society seems to be that combination of affinity and sexual attraction commonly labeled romantic love. With romantic love as the primary purpose of marriage there is no logical (ah, there it is and notice the correct usage under the Oxford-English dictionary definition: “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity”) reason why it should be encompass only different-sex couples.

Oh, no wait, there is a reason…because the Bible says so. Must I illuminate the glaring flaws in this line..I hesitate to say reasoning…let’s just say the flaws in this thought process. It is just fine to be a Theist, it is just fine to be a Christian…lots of people manage to be Christians without promoting prejudice and regulating other, morally conscious, non-violent, human beings to second-class citizens who don’t deserve the same rights as us heterosexuals on our religious high-ground do. The Bible says a lot of stuff…and guess what? A lot of it is shit that not even the most hard-core Christians follow. Here’s some sage Biblical advice not many Christians are lining up to follow:

Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish, Proverbs 31:6 (NIV).  If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (NIV). Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Leviticus 19:27 (NIV).

Get the picture? I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.

The case presented by Baucham in his essay: Gay Is Not The New Black is riddled with misdirection, convoluted interpretations of logic, and blatant inaccuracies. His argument has no legitimate basis in either global history or science. Neither does it have a basis in a religion that holds the texts that are attributed to what Jesus is said to have taught as the ultimate word of God: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (NIV).

References

American anthropological association. (1998). American anthropological association statement on “race”. Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

 

Baucham, V. (2012) Gay is not the new black. Retrieved from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black/

 

Civil rights. (n.d). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/civil+rights

 

Logic. (n.d.). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/logic

 

Peletz, M, G. (2006).Discourse of opposition to marriage equality.Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/press/an/infocus/marriage/peletz.htm

Categories: Bull, Free Speech, GLBT, Life, Social Equity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Are Back! No, Really! We Are! Promise!

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Okay. We have been really, really, really bad at this whole blog thing as of late. Rachel is still in the process of moving into her new place and I have been busy reducing my life into a backpack and medium sized duffle bag and watching a truly terrible show called Femme Fatale. It’s like driving by a car wreak; you know it’s wrong to look, but you do it anyway.

Also, I would like to share some happy news. I will be working for Toonari Post. It is unpaid and I still have to go through orientation, but I least I will have a place to publish and an extra set of news credentials. Yay!

For our first collective blog in weeks we are going to share our new goals. I don’t remember what mine were, but it’s a safe bet that I didn’t do them. I swear I’m going to get better at this whole followthrough thing.

New Goals:

Kiki:

1) Read a fiction book 2) Finish one of the trip related books 3) Make a Visa decision (they still aren’t answering the phone or responding to email)

Rachel

I do not remember my previous goals either but it is a fairly safe assumption that I have completed few to none of them.  Here are my new goals:

1) Complete a book either fiction or non-fiction 2) Work on my credit card issue (the issue is I don’t have one!) 3) Complete the moving process 4)Relax a little bit

Moving is really no fun, I can only console myself with the fact that soon I will be in a new home. There are 5 or 6, no joke, FOR RENT signs up in front of my house so at least once a day somebody comes by poking their head into the windows and asking me 5o questions about the place. Couple that with the fact that the tiny widow air conditioner is so completely ineffective that I cannot sleep  more than a few hours a night due to the stifling heat and you have a very cranky Rachel indeed. Yesterday I rode the bus for an hour simply because it was air conditioned.

In Other News:

I (Kiki) thought I would have to avoid the news for the duration of the Olympics, but thankfully news organizations have been good about putting other news on their websites. So, I have been able to avoid that jock-fueled, Nationalist weirdness as I read/watch the news. Although, I haven’t been able to filter out the Olympics completely. As it turns out this is the first time that all nations taking part in the games have women on their teams and there are two Saudi Arabia women able to participate.

Here are some stories I’ve been following:

1) Syrian rebels finally got a couple of missiles and Assad is rallying the troops. Also, Foreign policy experts urge US to get involved in Syria.

2) Is Mali a haven for Al Queda?

3) Clinton will be making her first visit to South Sudan.

4) The situation is deteriorating in eastern Congo.

5) Violence nearly at two-year peak in Iraq.

6) Netanyahu told Panetta that time for a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear dispute is running out.

This isn’t news, but I love this article (the book is about to come out). It’s a wonderfully articulate article (with lots of examples) about why some of the most touted “literary” writers are actually bad writers. He makes a very valid point: just because you don’t understand what the heck they’re saying, doesn’t mean they’re literary or that your stupid. Actually, it most likely means they are actually bad writers.

 

Categories: Adventure, Books, Goals, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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