Week from Hell

Super busy at work this week. Friday is the final day to post sales for fourth quarter, so we've been selling cars left and right. Good time to buy a car. Bad time to work in the auto industry. Sorry if I'm really quiet this week (and next, since I'll be on vacation and not likely to check in very often). I promise to post something fascinating in January, and reply to comments and such (I haven't forgotten about your comments, Kurt, I just haven't had the time to write the kind of response they deserve). Maybe Kurt can host the Friday Random Ten this week? I'll be your friend forever if you do!

annamaria at 1:08 PM

2 spoke


Friday Random Ten

Erin McKeown
Ain't she grand?*

So, it occurred to me that I haven't complained about Psycho in a while. Turns out, whatever my manager said to her about her tardiness, absenteeism and general psychotic attitude has worked. She's been pretty bearable of late. Of course, because December is the busiest month of the year in the auto industry, we had to hire a temp to help out in the office. She's been dubbed Psycho Part Two. She's doesn't have the delicious blend of narcisism and paranoia (with a heaping helping of hysteria on the side) that marked the original Psycho flavor, but she comes with all kinds of psychological baggage of her own! It's a good thing she's only here for another week, because two Psychos would be enough to send me to therapy.

I've decided that I need to do something about paring down my mp3 collection. Partly because I'm going to need a second hard drive soon just to house music, but also because I seem incapable of doing a Friday Random Ten that doesn't include at least one Magnetic Fields song. Damn you 69 Love Songs!

  1. Borderline - Chris Mills
  2. Flyswatter - Eels
  3. Abigail, Belle of Kilronan - The Magnetic Fields
  4. fake palindromes - Andrew Bird
  5. Wierdo - The Charlatans
  6. Slung-Lo - Erin McKeown
  7. Date with the Night (live) - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  8. Generals and Majors - XTC
  9. Madeline and Nine - Mike Doughty
  10. Me, Myself and I - De La Soul

Your turn!

UPDATE: The praying menaces have been sentenced to one-year probation, but claim they will continue to block gas station entrances if god tells them to. Fantastic.

*I apologize for that terrible pun.


annamaria at 10:41 AM

2 spoke

It's a good thing Narnia is such clean, wholesome fun

These children are evil

I’ve noted before that there are times when I feel that my criticism of the Religious Right is too harsh. I don’t believe that all Christians are crazy or out of touch with reality; in fact, most Christians I know are so far removed from the Falwells and Phelpses of the world, that I can’t believe they are practitioners of the same religion. So, just when I feel the need to apologize, and take back all the mean things I’ve said about fundies, Agape Press manages piss me off twice in one week:

A Catholic sociologist and writer from Bavaria believes Harry Potter is a "global long-term project to change the culture" by destroying children's inhibitions against cursing, magic, and occult practices.

British author J.K. Rowling has sold an estimated 300 million copies of her popular series of books on a fictional society of witches and wizards. The books have also spawned a series of popular and financially successful films. But Gabriele Kuby, author of the book Harry Potter: Good or Evil, believes the Potter books and the four subsequent movies are "evil" -- and that parents should avoid exposing their children to them.

"The confusion of good and evil, which happens in Harry Potter all the time, is dangerous because it's the foundation of what the Pope calls relativism," Kuby explains. "Relativism means there's no sure criteria for good and evil -- and if that is sunk into the soul, it's dangerous."

There is a scene in the latest Harry Potter movie in which Harry must decide whether to save his friend Cedric from certain death or make a move to win the illustrious Triwizard Tournament. He chooses to turn back and save his friend. Does this sound like the kind of lesson that "parents should avoid exposing their children to?" I cannot imagine that any child would watch these films or read these books and decide that life as a witch or a warlock is in the cards for them. Kids have a better understanding of reality and fantasy that these people give them credit for, and often children seem to have a better grasp on reality than the people who claim that Harry Potter will turn them into spell-casting witches with potty-mouths.

Here’s my favorite passage from the article:
Kuby is convinced the Potter phenomenon is a "mockery of Judeo-Christian truth" and says subjecting young students to Harry Potter books in schools is "intolerant." The author believes the Potter series is replete with occult practices as well.

Well, at least Agape Press is being consistent with its definition of "intolerant", which apparently means enjoying anything that isn’t slavishly devoted to Christian values. If nothing else, Harry Potter makes kids read. My nieces can tear through all 700 pages in a week or less. They don’t do that with the Bible, and they have no use for the Chronicles of Narnia, but hand them a Harry Potter book and good luck getting them outside to play. Please tell me how a generation of literate children can be a bad thing.

The fear with Harry Potter has nothing to do with a fervent belief that kids will suddenly become witches and warlocks and lose all sense of good and evil. The fear is that kids will develop their own sense of morality, one that is not as rigid and unforgiving as most Christian doctrine. And when these kids grow up, having decided for themselves what good and evil means, they will have no use for the dogma and stridency of the Religious Right. And that’s got to be terrifying for the Falwells and Phelpses of the world, who need us to be fearful and acquiescent so that their belief system can survive.


annamaria at 10:17 AM

3 spoke


Intolerant gay fundamentalists for diversity of choice...

Now that I've used all the catch
phrases, I'll be sure to get that
autographed picture of Babs!

Oh, I love it when conservatives complain about the liberal media and the godless fags taking over the earth. Following their logic requires such amazing cognitive contortions to overcome the inconvenient little fact of Republicans controlling all three branches of government, most state houses, and the mainstream media (I'm talking to you, Rupert Murdoch). As Noam Chomsky said, if the media were really liberal, you would see the "Labor Section" of your newspaper, not the "Business Section."

This month, Agape Press and James Lambert take on "liberal lingo" in an attempt to unravel their deep, delusory meanings and save their dear readers from falling for our damnable deceptions:

Please note the Freudian slip at the start of that paragraph...

I find it interesting that in an article based on the misuse of language by liberals to further our political ends, the author manages to use an emotionally-charged word in an effort to further his ideological position. A baby does not have a choice in an abortion, because babies are neither aborted, nor do they obtain abortions. A pregnancy is aborted, and as a result a fetus is removed from a woman’s body. You cannot abort a baby (or a fetus for that matter)—this isn’t an issue of me using language to obscure the reality of abortion, this is an example of me using language correctly. Sorry if that offends.

The use of “choice” by abortion rights advocates isn’t an attempt to belie the reality of abortion or “eliminate any negative connotation,” it is simply a statement of intent. We believe that women should be able to choose from a variety of reproductive options, from abstinence to abortion, because we believe that women are capable of making those kinds of decisions without patronizing and infantilizing legislation like 24-hour waiting periods and spousal consent regulations. We believe women have to right to choose; that makes us pro-choice.

The use of the word gay to refer to homosexuals appeared as early as the 1920s, most notably in Noel Coward’s play Bitter Sweet, where fin de siecle dandies sing:
For the "Nineties" being gay,
We all wear a green carnation.

The “green carnation” is a reference to the very gay (and I mean this in all senses of the word) Oscar Wilde, who famously donned such a flower. Wikipedia also notes that the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby is the first to use the word gay to connote homosexuality. Considering that the modern gay rights movement has its start with the Stonewell Rebellion in 1969, it would seem that society as a whole, and not those nefarious homosexual activists, had a hand in this particular etymology.

So, let’s talk about that “lifestyle than [sic] (on average) lowers the life expectancy of homosexual males by over 20 years,” shall we? First of all, Mr. Lambert is lying to you. Those numbers don’t come from the Centers for Disease Control*, they are culled from a 1997 study conducted by Hogg, et al in Canada. The Vancouver team used data from 1989-1992 in an effort to estimate the impact of HIV on gay and bisexual men, in particular to determine any effect on the overall life expectancy of that particular demographic subset. It is interesting to note that Hogg et all have specifically decried any attempt by anti-gay activists to use their work as a means of denying rights to, or teaching intolerance of, gay men.
Over the past few months we have learnt of a number of reports regarding a paper we published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the gay and bisexual life expectancy in Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s.From these reports it appears that our research is being used by select groups in US and Finland to suggest that gay and bisexual men live an unhealthy lifestyle that is destructive to themselves and to others. These homophobic groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being. [emphasis mine]

Both the original research time and others have since claimed that the 1989-1992 data is outdated, and that new advances in medical technology and education have narrowed the life-expectancy gap to a paltry 14 months—a statistically insignificant figure.

Prove us wrong.

Seriously, Agape Press, behave in a way that doesn’t indicate that you “want a theocracy, condemn others to hell, wish to punish sinners, and militantly want to force [your] religious beliefs on others” and I will stop calling you a fundamentalist.

Un-fucking-believable. It’s the liberals that are “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters”? Tell that to the woman who can’t get emergency contraception (or any kind of birth control for that matter) because the pharmacist refuses to recognize her religious beliefs. Or the high school kids who have to learn that evolution is a theory because some crackpot asshole thinks that the sky fairy** spent six days making the universe. I am not intolerant of religion, but like the homophobic asshole who cringes at the thought of two dudes kissing***, I just don’t wanna see it! By all means, express your religion, go to church, believe what you want to believe, but for the love of Bill, grant me the same fucking courtesy, would you?

Time to get a new dictionary, dude.

I have a feeling that Lambert had a stack of notecards with conservative talking points on them that somehow managed to get scattered all over the floor. In his haste to write this insightful article, he put them in a pile, said to hell with order or cogency, and haphazardly applied them to whatever bullet point his little heart desired. You see, the "any kind of differentiation is bad" line is supposed to be used against the evil gender feminists, and the "making personal judgment calls is wrong" canard is for liberals who criticize Bush's "Ownership Society," or Denny's for not serving the black folk.

*I looked all over for a CDC report that said anything even remotely similar to this, and came up with nothing. If you can find one, send it along and I’ll repay your kindness with a cookie.
**As always, credit to Norbizness
***As always, credit to Jon Stewart


annamaria at 2:13 PM

5 spoke


Why, Colin Meloy, why??

Apparently my Colin Meloy tour of LA will now include a stop at the infamous Capitol Records building...

Confirming a rumor that has been floating around the indie world for weeks, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy revealed to Pitchfork this weekend that his band has indeed signed to Capitol Records. The deal follows a successful run with the beloved independent label Kill Rock Stars, which culminated in the release of the Decemberists' third (and best) album, Picaresque, earlier this year.

"The idea of reaching a wider audience has become really attractive," Meloy said. "It just felt like we had tapped out the resources of Kill Rock Stars. We could have stayed on that label until the end of time, putting out proper Decemberists records that sold x amount of copies. But there was a general thought after this last tour that the music and the stage show were evolving. We felt like there was an opportunity for something bigger."

Look, I don't begrudge any band the right to sign with a major label, and I'll be the last person calling my beloved Decemberists sell outs for signing with Capitol, but I can't help but feel this overwhelming sense of dread. There is no way in hell Capitol is going to let this band record 19 minute singles based on Irish folklore, and it is exactly that kind of artistic freedom that turned The Decemberists from your typical Portland indie rock outfit to a band that unabashedly uses a hurdy gurdy and records songs about consumptive paupers. You know, all of the things that I love about this band!

Damn you, Colin Meloy! You'd better fucking prove me wrong on this!

In good news, Meloy's going to be a daddy! Congratulations to both Colin and his supremely adorable girlfriend, artist Carson Ellis.

And check out a new-ish Decemberists track Like a Lion


annamaria at 1:35 PM

2 spoke


Do praying menaces devour their mates, too?

Shelby Township used to be such a lovely place to live...


Two Washington Township women are being called praying menaces," not because of their praying, but because of where they choose to pray.

Brittany Lee Jordan, 25, and Rachael Sue Jacob, 27, are in jail after not being able to meet a bond of $5,000.

The two women told police that they were doing exactly what God told them to do: lie down on a mat and pray at a BP gas station and also in front of a district court.

"She just laid there and said she was waiting for God's answer," said Megan Freeland, a cashier at the BP, at 26 Mile Road and Van Dyke, in Shelby Township.

The two local women were ticketed and arrested for disturbing the peace. The cashier said [Jordan] lay on the mat for three hours, while Jacob came in and out.

When they appeared in court, the women were given a $1,000 bond and ordered by Magistrate Michael Osaer to refrain from blocking access to public buildings, according to the Macomb Daily. Osaer said the pair could pray where they wanted, but could not impede other people, according to the newspaper.

But as they left the courthouse, they prayed again. This time they blocked the entrance to the courthouse. One witness said people had to "literally climb over the ladies to enter the courthouse."

They were arrested and taken back to Osaer's courtroom. He raised the bond to $5,000. The women were unable to pay the bond and were sent to jail.

I must stop at that gas station at least once a week, but of course I miss the one day when crazy ladies are blocking the doors. Damn.

You gotta wonder about a god that tells people to lie down on dirty floors for hours at a time, and then never even bothers to reply to your prayers. I wonder when they are going to get booked on The O'Reilly Factor or Hannity and Colmes a la the Novi Nativity Family. These days, it seems that false peity justifies every kind of stupidity.

Here's Rich's take on the situation (via email):
Oh my god, what a pair of mouth-breathing chuckleheads. I mean, what the hell is wrong with these people?! Do they think Jebus is going to give them extra credit for that shit?

America has gone crazy!
Don't Brits have the best insults?

Of course, not all Shelby Township Christians are batshit crazy:
A small group of religious activists protested outside U.S. Rep. Candice Miller's Shelby Township district office Thursday, decrying the congresswoman's support for "immoral" budget cuts that they say will hurt the poor and defy Christian values.
Nice to know that while some "Christians" are playing floor mat, others are actually looking out for those whose interests usually get trampled on.

annamaria at 1:45 PM

4 spoke

Friday Random Ten

I really hate snow. You'd think having lived in Michigan for nearly 28 years (5 spent in Kalamazoo, where 10-12 in snowfalls are the norm) I'd be used to this shit. I'm not. Everytime it snows, I freak out and drive like an 80-year-old grandmother. That's a lie; 80-year-old grandmothers pass me on the highway.

But I was a trooper today, and I made it to work without any major catastrophes (despite getting my little car stuck in the snow three times before even leaving my subdivision). I think I deserve a medal or something...

So, here's your Friday Random Ten, I hate snow edition:

  1. The Pledge - Brendan Benson
  2. The Big Light - Elvis Costello
  3. Dirty Old Town - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  4. Blue You - The Magnetic Fields
  5. Brooklyn Is Burning - Head Automatica
  6. For Today I Am a Boy - Antony & The Johnsons
  7. Hearts - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
  8. Naked As We Came - Iron & Wine
  9. Drunken Tears - Quasi
  10. Gimme Indie Rock - Sebadoh

Your turn!


annamaria at 11:52 AM

4 spoke


A lesson in fundie logic

Pride Priest

AKA shorter Rev. Euteneuer

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International: Gay men cannot be priests because priests have to renounce marriage, which gay men can't do, because we won't let them get married.

Well, that clears things up.


annamaria at 3:12 PM

1 spoke

so cold...

Just a short little post about the furnace being broken at work and me freezing my ass off while trying to get some work done. Someone managed to snag me a space heater, which is keeping my little tootsies warm, but not much else. I'm sure this violates some OSHA policy or something, and when my fingers thaw maybe I'll do some research. In the meantime, anyone feel like joining my little pity party? Or maybe sending me some blankets?

UPDATE: Based on all the comments, I can see you're all so very concerned about my health and well being. The heat's back on. You can go back to your lives and stop worrying about my frozen little fingers. /snark

annamaria at 9:05 AM

2 spoke


Finally, some good news…

On Friday, Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager asked Gov. Jim Doyle for permission to sue the FDA over their refusal to make a decision about making emergency contraception available over the counter. The FDA has already approved Plan B, which is simply a large dosage of birth control, for use with a prescription, but has been dragging its heels since February 2001, when 70 medical and public health organizations petitioned to make EC available without a prescription.

AG Lautenschlager maintains that the FDA’s delays are due to political pressure from anti-choice groups, who erroneously conflate Plan B with abortion. According to Lautenschlager, "the FDA's delays in approving the pills for over-the-counter distribution have hurt rape victims who want the pills immediately and strained state medical assistance programs with the costs of unplanned pregnancies." The Wisconsin AG can only file suit against a federal agency with the permission of the Governor’s office. Gov. Doyle has assembled a research group comprised of members of the Department of Health and Family Services and Department of Justice to look into possible public health risks posed by the FDA’s delay.

Don’t forget to head over the NARAL Pro-Choice America’s site, and tell the FDA to stop playing politics with women’s lives.

annamaria at 9:47 AM

0 spoke

You're not a human until you're in my phone book

I haven’t visited with our friends, the Concerned Women for Patriarchy America lately, and it seems they’ve uncovered all kinds of nefarious liberal plots while I’ve been off living my life. This title particularly intrigued me:

The Abortion-Homosexual Connection

Well, doesn’t that sound distressing? To think that homosexuals are performing abortions! Or is it that evil lesbians are getting themselves knocked-up by unwitting straight men only to go out and have abortions! Oh, I know! Genetic testing has allowed doctors to isolate a gay gene, and homosexual doctors are selectively aborting straight womb babies to aid the homosexual agenda and the queer quest for global dominance!

Okay, I give up. What is the abortion-homosexual connection? Does it have anything to do with The French Connection? I know that twinks really like to wear those FCUK t-shirts.
The Joy of FCUK

No, the abortion-homosexual connection is even worse that you thought. Check out what Robert Knight, CWFA director (and a man!), has to say:
[Susan] Kennedy's rise to the top of California's power structure is just the tip of the iceberg. Openly lesbian California Democratic legislators Sheila Kuehl and Carole Migden, along with openly homosexual Mark Leno, have led the fight against any restrictions on abortion while initiating a slew of pro-homosexual measures, including full-blown "gay marriage," promoting homosexuality in the schools, and a law prohibiting the state from doing business with firms that do not subsidize homosexual relationships. Leno and Kuehl are listed as co-authors of AB 654, a euthanasia bill so radical that it didn't even get a floor vote in the liberal-dominated Assembly.

At the national level, the pro-abortion National Organization for Women supports all aspects of the homosexual agenda, including same-sex "marriage," hate crime laws, and persecuting [sic] the Boy Scouts for barring homosexuals as scoutmasters.

Homosexual activist groups are players in liberal coalitions that work against pro-life judicial nominees, for socialized medicine, and for legislation restricting the rights of pro-life demonstrators, such as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which treats pro-life protesters as criminals.

Don’t you see, folks, the evil abortion-homosexual connections? People who support individual liberty, human rights and privacy tend the be consistent! And as we all know, consistency is the enemy of the Religious Right. And Robert Knight has proof that the abortion-homosexual agenda is at direct odds with the values of “Christians” everywhere: some nutjob anti-choice advocate wrote a book called “The Criminalization of Christianity” wherein she posits that the ultimate goal of the homoabortionists is to, well, criminalize Christianity.
Longtime pro-life activist Janet Folger had an epiphany a few years ago at a pro-family conference at Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She "suddenly connected the dots and realized it's all the same battle" after hearing a speaker discuss "the real aim of the homosexual agenda: the criminalization of Christianity."

When I was in college, I volunteered at my local Planned Parenthood clinic. Our director was a wonderful man, deeply committed to all aspects of social justice, including not only a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, but also gay rights (by which, of course, I mean human rights). He was also a minister at a local Christian church. He never saw any conflict between his faith and his job at PPFA; in fact, he often argued that his faith was precisely the reason he chose to work at the clinic, because he believed that Christians cannot look the other way when confronted with injustice. I wonder if he knew that he was an instrument of evil, determined to vitiate his own religion. Somehow I doubt it.

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annamaria at 8:08 AM

3 spoke


Buy a Chevy, save my job

Chevrolet HHR

My employers have somehow managed to get a full 40 hours of work out of my this week, which is a first in the four years that I've worked here. I don't like it. They are supposed to pay me to do a few hours of work here and there, and spend the rest of my time blogging. But, alas, we've been swamped with work due to the year-end Chevy sales push. All day, all I hear from management is "We're gonna beat Ford!" It's grating and annoying, and makes me want to go out and buy a Toyota just to spite these people.

And buying a Toyota is looking like a better and better idea everyday. I just found out that my car
Look how cute it is!

is out of warranty for transmission repairs. Um...it's only three years old. Turns out that the transmission is only guaranteed for 36,000 miles, which I am far past. So, even through my car is exactly the same as the Toyota Matrix, built on the exact same line at the exact same plant and engineered by the exact same people, my warranty coverage is only half that of the Matrix. My next car is going to be a Prius, even if it costs me my own job!

Alright, enough complaining about cars (which really don't interest me at all, despite my auto industry job)--I'm late for the Friday Random Ten! I missed it last week, because of Thanksgiving, and now I'm late because I'm supposed to be selling Silverados or something. Somehow I managed to get three covers on this list without even trying, much to my own delight as it gave me an excuse to listen to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris covering Nazareth. Sweet.

  1. Bring on the Dancing Horses (live) - The Decemberists
  2. It's Tricky - Run-DMC
  3. Underwear - The Magnetic Fields
  4. Puzzle - Lou Barlow
  5. Bad Reputation (live) - Death Cab For Cutie
  6. Rhymes of Goodbye - Scott Walker
  7. Shaktar Donetsk - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
  8. I Will Internalize - Martha Wainwright
  9. Love Hurts - Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris
  10. That's When I Reach for My Revolver - Mission of Burma

Your turn!

annamaria at 11:13 AM

2 spoke