Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Day, Another Kerfuffle

Hey, brother.

Michigan's assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell is in trouble for cyber-bullying the president of the University of Michigan's student government, with blog posts calling him, among other things, a radical homosexual activist--excuse me, let me make sure I quote Mr. Shirvell accurately--a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST. I vaguely wondered if there was any chance that this might be yet another tired cliche of a self-loathing homo acting out by attacking a gay person, even though it's been done to death recently (really, Eddie Long, it's so derivative at this point--but the iPhone Under-Armour-in-the-bathroom pics were a nice touch!). So I figured I'd watch the video, and then Mr. Shirvell started talking at 0:24 and by 0:26 my gaydar was completely melted down into the same puddle with my irony meter and I spent the next seven minutes giggling uncontrollably.

Oh, Andrew, honey. You had me at "Well, Anderson..."

I have so many questions. How did this guy manage to get a job in the first place, much less manage to keep it more than a week? As assistant AG? Really? He's really an assistant attorney general? Like, for a state? And he really doesn't think any of his Perez Hilton stylings are the tiniest bit inappropriate for any, you know, actual adult who's decided to pick on a college kid? Oh, wait, that question answers itself.

“Did he think he was just going to get some kind of free pass just because he’s gay or whatever?,” Shirvell said earlier this month with Detroit TV station WXYZ. “I mean, we’re all adults here and so, you know, we’re treating him like an adult with adult level criticism.”

The University of Michigan must be so pleased. As a Notre Dame fan, I certainly am.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Sarah Palin, was it not enough to foist your goddamn spawn onto Dancing With The Stars? Did you really have to show up tonight and make me hit the mute button and throw the remote to my partner and jam my fingers in my ears yelling lalalalalalala just in case the mute didn't work and contort awkwardly in the recliner to hoop* the laptop up on my knees to block the TV, running the risk of spraining my spine in order to spare my eyes?

Fuck off, Sarah Palin. I need my mindless entertainment once a week, and you're getting the fuck in the way.

*yes, it comes with a sound effect. It sounds like hoop and comes from the diaphragm.

In Other Words

John McCain, referencing the Defense Department's OMG what if the Marine in the next bunk haz Teh Ghey survey, says we absolutely need to hear from people in uniform before we decide to stop axing Arabic translators for the sole reason that they are cunning linguists in more than one way.

The Air Force, in blessedly futile arguments that Major Margaret Witt should not be reinstated to her job as a flight nurse for a medevac team, says the opinions of people in uniform don't matter a rat's ass.

Her attorneys, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, insisted that Witt was well respected and liked by her colleagues, that her sexuality never caused problems in the unit, and that her firing actually hurt military goals such as morale, unit cohesion and troop readiness. Several members of the squadron testified to that effect and said they would welcome Witt back to the unit.

Lawyers for the Air Force said such evidence was irrelevant.

Military personnel decisions can't be run by unit referendum, they said.

They need to get on the same page here, because it at this point it looks like The Ghey is subject to referendum, but only when the overwhelming response comes back the way they were hoping. And given the wording of many of the DOD survey questions, the response they're fishing for is pretty clear. I am very curious about what the official reaction might be if even that survey ends up showing that most military people really don't care about team members' orientations as long as they do their jobs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Day in Sports

In volleyball news, last night the Philadelphia Independence downed the Boston Breakers and advanced to Sunday's championship match on a sweet kill by middle hitter Danesha Adams. Oh, wait, I'm getting a correction in my earpiece from my producers... Ah. It appears that the Breakers-Independence matchup was actually a soccer game--that would explain the nets being at the ends of the field instead of in the middle--which means that the game-winner was actually a Thierryffic hand job instead of the header Adams and the rest of the Independence decided to celebrate only after it was apparent referee Kari Seitz was calling for a kickoff from the center circle rather than a restart for Boston out of their own goal area.

Then Alex Scott had a OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE THE NET IS THAT WIDE OPEN I BETTER JUST LIE DOWN moment and whiffed from the six and that was that. I have done that before. You welcome death. Poor AS; can't imagine the plane ride back to England is going to be a whole lot of fun for her household.

Well, at least this way Philadelphia get to be the sacrificial lambs for Marta and the Supremes this weekend and Kelly Smith can get a jump on fixing whatever she did to her knee this time around. Frozen peas ease almost any pain, love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Easy Way Out

Ah Christ, apparently those of us afflicted with The Ghey got shit on again in various ways today. I nicked all these from Joe.My.God because he's way more together than I am today. Also, I love Al Franken, even when he makes me cry.

First, John McCain splits a nut claiming that shit that happens doesn't actually happen.

Then Al Franken gets choked up.

And then, just for fun, a Saxby Chambliss staffer picked the wrong day to tell us all to drop dead.

Mercy, that's a full day right there. Why do I do this, again?

Feeling the pressure to post, to maintain my ZZ-list status in the blogging world.

I got nuthin'.

Maybe in a day or two. I'm still a bit boggled by the empty house.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking Leave

The morning and early afternoon in Seattle were sunny and pleasant. We had breakfast on a cafe patio and walked a few blocks to the grocery store to stock him up on ramen and Cheetos. As the clock ticked away into late afternoon, the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped. We went halfway up the hill to the parking deck and I hugged him and said goodbye and walked away alone in a cold, steady rain.

Triple digits and a too-empty house await in Tucson tomorrow. This is how whatever comes next begins.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gone Fishin'

I am in Seattle for the week, getting the boy settled in to his new college home. There is so much goddamn good food here I could weep--but I can't stop eating long enough to sniffle, so there you go.

Posting will resume somewhere around the 20th, although the odd food photo might show up from time to time.

Takoyaki from Wann-Izakaya. Holy shit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Retrospect, I Suppose the Vests Should Have Tipped Me Off

Washington state GOP House candidate Hans Zeiger, a while back:
The Girl Scouts allow homosexuals and atheists to join their ranks, and they have become a pro-abortion, feminist training corps. ... If the Girl Scouts of America can't get back to teaching real character, perhaps it will be time to look for our cookies elsewhere.

Future homosexual atheist pro-abortion feminist in training.

The most amazing thing to me about this is that Mr. Zeiger was actually a punk-ass teenager when he posted this to the Interwebs, rather than the bitter 60-year-old he apparently channeled while typing. And seriously, looking elsewhere for your cookies? Can Safeway give you something better than Thin Mints? I don't think so.

Friday Fulminations

Why are the media giving the out-of-control, tantrum-throwing toddler of a minister in Florida so much power? Have none of these people ever been the parent of a three-year-old? Ignore.

Speaking of ill-parented children, I am still pissed about the Johnston-spawning Palin spawn mucking up my Dancing With The Stars, as a cautious foray into the ABC message boards indicates the presence of a rabid audience that is determined to tie up their cell lines, landlines, e-mail, and any unattended phone in the vicinity to OMG VOTE 4 BRISTOL and keep her on into perpetuity. And I so wanted to see Margaret Cho eviscerate the poor little thing with a smile.

In other news of questionable taste, my high school alumni group is in a kerfuffle because a Native American historian across the street at Notre Dame noticed that the school's mascot is an Indian, and has asked the diocese of South Bend to look into making a change. My reaction was wow, I can't believe they managed to hang onto the Indian this long, but judging by Facebook comments, the larger reaction is OMG TRADITION POLITICAL CORRECTNESS BUT NOTRE DAME'S MASCOT IS A SHORT IRISH GUY AND NOBODY COMPLAINS MUSLIMS QURAN !!!!!11!!!!!!111CHEEZITS!

The school board apparently checked with the Pokagon band of the Pottowattomie a few decades ago and got the okay to use the word "Indians" and a single image of a guy in a Lakota-style headdress (in northern Indiana, go figure). I do not know if the current Pokagon leadership have been consulted--although the band's education coordinator graduated in my class and, very not surprisingly, has so far declined to weigh in on a comment thread in which a bunch of mostly white people are insisting that it's not at all disrespectful to let a white kid in fringed pajamas and face paint hop around a basketball court at halftime, or for a bunch of white kids in the stands at a football game to do the Florida State/Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop. Or that it's no more insulting to Native Americans to call our team "Indians" than it is insulting to some curiously unspecified group to have nearby Mishawaka High School call their teams "Cavemen," or, inexplicably, insulting to... Catholics? martyrs? that the New Orleans NFL team is called "Saints."

If the Pokagon really think "Indians" and the logo and the Florida State-style spear on the football helmets is a nice tip of the hat to their culture, then I don't have a problem with it. If they'd like to set new guidelines ensuring a respectful appropriation of their ethnic group and cultural artifacts, I'm all for that too (maybe retiring the old "Indians, St. Joe Indians, whoop whoop!" cheer would be a good start? I'm just sayin'). And if they decide that all the half-assed good intentions in the world about honoring some vague notion of Native American nobility and courage through a 1950s caricature of a chief just don't cut it any more and put the kibosh on the whole thing, I'm okay with that as well. They're knocking down the old school building pretty soon anyway and moving to a new campus downtown; when it's over, it's over.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

In Which Arizonans Baffle Me By Being Even Stupider Than I Feared

Jan Brewer verbally stumbled, went silent and mangled her grammar during last week's televised debate.

The result of her performance, a new statewide survey indicates, is that she is even more popular.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen found 60 percent of the 500 likely Arizona voters questioned in the automated telephone survey on Tuesday said they intend to vote for the incumbent. That's up three points from a survey taken a week before the debate.

Just as soon as I finish banging my head against this nice big rock I found, I will remind myself that polls conducted via landline calls disproportionately sample old people, and that old people in Arizona disproportionately think good thoughts about reanimated corpses (see: Jan Brewer, John McCain).

Meanwhile, the Arizona Green Party is trying like mad to get rid of the Democratic vote-diluting fake candidates Log Cabin Republican Steve May recruited from a pool of homeless street performers in Tempe. I need to stop going to bed thinking the sun has just set on the stupidest day possible, because it keeps coming up the next morning, dragging even more idiocy along with it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

In Which We Confess to a Touch of Writer's Block

So much for writing every day; three and out, just in time for football season.

The calendar, despite all my protestations, has insisted on not only rolling around to September but ticking away the days faster than I could ever have imagined was possible.

Six days now until I bundle my son and several overpriced bags onto the plane for the trip to Seattle and college. Twelve days until I trudge onto the plane with a couple empty bags stuffed inside my suitcase, alone.

I do not know how people who actually lose children to things like disease and war manage to keep going. I do not know how my father survived sixteen months of my brother being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. My son is healthy, thriving, and excited about getting on with his life. I am left living inside a Norman Rockwell painting.

I did not expect it to be this hard.

Friday, September 03, 2010

In Which Jan-Jan Does Her Best Sharron Angle

You've seen our esteemed governor's "opening statement" in the debate Wednesday night, if "..." properly qualifies as an opening statement, and while 36 hours really isn't enough time to recover from that display of fuckitude, now there's more, courtesy of the ABC affiliate in Phoenix and the Tucson Citizen.

In Governor Brewer's defense, this was a difficult situation for her, and not one that lent itself to her staff's go-to problem-solving tactic, which is, of course, to stop everything and pray. Maybe that's what she was doing in her head during the lengthy pause between the question and her declaration that it had been an interesting evening; clearly, the prayer warrior consensus went something like this:

This morning, in a stunner, Brewer announced she's not doing any more debates.

"All you guys were doing and talking were beheadings, beheadings, beheadings," the governor said. "That is something that has stuck with you all for so long, and I just felt we needed to move on."

Beheadings are such a drag, people. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Uh, Fellow Arizonans? Please Do No Forget to Vote in November.

This is the current occupant of the Arizona governor's office. She wants to come back for more.

Jesus god. Please vote Goddard in November.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Unrepentant Geekery, Part Deux *UPDATED*

Now with more explanation, below.

SOFA, bitchez.

p = .738

My heart flutters.

Statistics have been the bane of my existence since junior year in college and the stats course that was required for my anthropology major. The class was taught by a wee, marginally insane Scotsman who claimed to be able to identify the county in which any given scotch was distilled, simply by sniffing it.

Suffice it to say that I would have done better if the class had focused on the whisky and not so much on the numbers. It got so bad that I resorted to carrying the floppy disk with my homework projects on it (this was in the long long ago time far far away, when data were stored on bendy rectangular media the size of a cd sleeve) through the library security zone and actually rubbing it on the sensor so I could say whoops, disk must've gotten bunged and take the blind F rather than letting the TA see incontrovertible evidence of my incompetence.

The prof ended up giving everyone a C instead of the Fs we deserved since failing an entire class presumably would not have reflected well on his teaching skills. The TA went on to pursue a career as a car show model. I kept my textbook and made occasional and inevitably tear-inducing attempts at using it as a reference over the years.

And now I found SOFA, and my life has changed. It is an open-source online stats package that evaluates your data and walks you through the process of selecting tests. It cranks out graphics. It produces results I can use. I understand, finally, and now I still weep, but this time in joy and relief.

Oh, science. We're on again.