You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.
Woke up this morning—on the living-room couch, since that was the farthest I could get from the windows in my one-bedroom apartment—fan still going, to learn Irene had been downgraded. Quickly bored to tears by WNYC’s “reports” of dog-walkers in Williamsburg and the endless reporting that there is really nothing to report.
Mostly I’m wondering how Irene feels now that she’s been publicly branded with that big scarlet D across her chest.
One of the worsts parts about having to cancel my dinner plans* last night due to impending hurricane was the fact that I no longer had a pressing reason to clean my apartment. So I didn’t. Instead, I somehow managed to spend the entire day, while waiting for the coming on of Irene (sorry), posting on Facebook.
Here, then, is my “Hurricane Preparation” photo series.
Filled up pretty much every bottle (or reasonable facsimile) I could find with water (after I’d BRITA’d it, of course). Added several more jars later in the evening after I’d finally done my dishes. And put them all in the fridge. (Except the Thermos. That just seemed wrong.)
[Yes, that beat-up peeled-off silver/blue one has seen better days. It survived falling out the back of a minivan in one of the dustiest places I’ve ever been (Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia) as well as, of course, volcanic mud.
No need to fear! I got my Baby Jesus candle. Actually, I got Baby Jesus AND Our Lady of Altagracia. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I found out my local bodega a) had exactly the kind of candles I was looking for and b) HAD ONE WITH BABY JESUS!
Also interesting to note, while I was traipsing around in the rain in the late afternoon looking for open stores/bodegas (not many), I noticed that, much to my relief, the Lower East Side bars were as packed as ever. Apparently douchebags don’t break for hurricane prep.
I have no idea why I appeared to be the only one in New York worried about the stability of a god-knows-how-many-pound air conditioner hanging out her apartment window during a hurricane.
There was much debate on the interwebz as to whether or not to tape Xs on one’s windows. I figured a) it certainly couldn’t hurt, and b) I spent five bucks at an East Village deli on a roll of masking tape slightly wider than the one I already had at home, so you could be damn well sure I was gonna tape my windows.
What? Everyone kept telling me to fill the bathtub with water. Seriously, though, I felt like Amelia Bedelia. Note to self: Don’t assume that the rubber tub-stopper thingy you were so sure was in the cabinet under the bathroom sink is actually there.
If nothing else comes of Irene, I now have at least three friends who are unlikely to ever forget this little hurricane tip posted on Facebook by the Boiled Egg / Travel Maven: Boil up all or most of your eggs now and stick ‘em in the fridge. Even if we lose power, hard-boiled eggs actually stay good for a reasonably long time. (Don’t peel them, of course. Duh.)
[Unlikely to forget because they actually boiled a bunch of eggs and now will have to eat them all week. Sorry, guys.]
OK, these were not actually purchased during my last-minute pre-hurricane foraging (Everyone in this town knows better than to go to Trader Joe’s for last-minute anything.). This is just my ‘normal’ stash. What can I say? I love me some roasted seaweed!
The debate over whether to leave your windows open a crack raged for hours on Facebook. And was potentially much more consequential than the one over masking tape. In the end, I went with the advice of two friends who’d been through hurricanes (both in Hawaii, bizarrely enough). The first was already quite convincing when she said: “One of the best ways to guard against breakage is leaving the windows open a crack. During a hurricane there are swift and significant changes in the air pressure—you’ll feel it—and this is actually one of the main causes of shattered windows: outside air pressure changes quickly, puts pressure on glass, glass shatters. If you leave the the windows open a crack, the air pressures equalize. You’ll still feel the change and see the glass flex, but it is less likely to break.”
But then another (non-hurricane-experienced) friend posted a Snopes entry dispelling/dismissing the myth, and I was truly torn.
In chimed my friend Brandi: “When I was living in Hawaii during hurricane Iniki, we took the advice of opening our windows and glass doors a teeny bit. The apartment next door’s completely shattered, but ours did not. Myth, my ass.”
As I learned years ago, it’s best to let Brandi have the last word.**
Is that the sun I see, little darling?
Note how later in the evening my Confederate flags, unbeknownst to them or even me at the time, became Union Jacks. (Perhaps I did spend far too much time reading The Help this week.)
In fact, I resisted reading the entire day because I figured if I didn’t have electricity on Sunday there would be nothing else to do, so I should take advantage of having power while I still did. Of course, instead of watching all those DVDs I’d planned to watch, I did this.
I had also assumed that at some point on Sunday I would be “forced” to eat all of the ice cream in my freezer. While I’m glad I didn’t have to have it for breakfast, I will admit to being somewhat disappointed at the moment.
*I was supposed to cook dinner for two friends last night, but given the fact that the entire city was going to shut down at noon (or at least my friends’ ability to get to my apartment), we had to postpone.
Thus I was left with the dilemma of what to do with the three-pound flank steak in my fridge. I could freeze it and hope for the best (if the power outage was brief but not quite brief enough, being in the freezer would save it from spoiling as it would in the refrigerator). I could put it in the slow cooker as planned and have a large emergency supply of Korean BBQ (well, “BBQ”) beef to get me through the hurricane. But if I lost power, it would quickly spoil and go to waste.
Thankfully, my friend Vanessa came up with the perfect solution: Cook the beef and freeze most of it overnight. That way I have food to eat for dinner and a better chance of being able to eat it later as leftovers.
**Actually, to let Hawaii-hurricane survivor #1 have the last word: “I just read that article in full, and it is about the myth that opening windows will prevent a roof from being blown off. That’s silly. It’s about decreasing the rapid pressure changes that can shatter glass, which I’ve seen happen. If the freaking wind blows your roof off, your windows don’t really matter.”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can really use a reminder.
Instructions for use:
1. Read headline and think to self, “And *you,* Matt Taibbi, of all people are shocked by this? It’s just par for the course. The world is these people’s fucking golf course, after all.”
2. Take seat on subway.
3. Read first four paragraphs of article.
4. Briefly wonder if other subway passengers are noticing your open-mouthed gape and popping-out-of-head eyes.
5. Read more.
6. Shake head in disbelief.
7. Read more.
8. Shake head knowingly.
9. Read more. (OK, it’s really not that long, I promise. I’m just a slow reader.)
10. Shake head in cynical resignation.
11. Be outraged. Be very outraged.
I don’t call it the Daily Outrage for nothing, people.
August 19, 2011
As promised, today’s rant is cross-posted on The Rude Pundit‘s blog.
This blog post is rated R for rude. Contains language some may find objectionable. You’ve been warned.
Be afraid. Be goddamned fucking afraid.
I was very flattered when the Rude One invited me to be a guest blogger in his absence—me, who’s not even a “real” blogger and, when she does blog, it’s about her travels in Southeast Asia, not politics in the U.S. (I usually confine my political rants to Facebook.) So flattered, in fact, that I had to accept. And by Saturday, boy, was I glad I did, as I felt a major Michele Bachmann rant coming on. So apologies, Rude, for not writing about my glamorous life working in New York City’s nonprofit sector, and thanks for the opportunity. Here goes.
Just when we’d finally stopped tearing our hair out over the fact that Sarah Palin could actually be a presidential candidate, into her Ferragamos (though apparently not without suffering for it) steps Michele Bachmann. Not just, as less than 5,000 Iowans have now ensured, a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination, but a leading contender.
I usually think of myself as a cynic. A cynic who believes that approximately half the American populace is insane. And yet . . . and yet . . . every once in a while they still manage to surprise me. They did it in 2004 (though that was not so much a surprise as a heartwrenchingly depressing dose of reality). They did it in 2008 when Sarah Palin was not immediately laughed off as the most ridiculous vice presidential candidate in history. And now, yet again, I realize I’ve underestimated the stupidity of the American populace. Because as much as I chided friends on Facebook for being “amazed” that Bachmann won in Iowa and “in disbelief” that she wants to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (I mean, come on. This would be the mildest of the anti-gay legislation she’d put on the table, I assure you.), wasn’t there something inside me that was, still, in 2011, utterly incredulous that this was actually happening? That part of my gut whose immediate reaction was “Really? Really? Has it really come to this?”
Bachmann’s ascension and candidacy are terrifying for a multitude of reasons, some of which are outlined in this week’s New Yorker profile by Ryan Lizza. I encourage you to read every last cringe-inducing word about her “education” (read “religious indoctrination”) at the hands of some of the country’s most radical—and slavery-condoning—“theologians.” You know, the kind who write things like “When people curse their parents, it is clearly a capital crime (Exodus 21:17). The son or daughter is under the lawful jurisdiction of the family. The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.” Because, of course, we’re pro-life. The kind of people who, like Bachmann, get their law degrees at Oral Roberts University, whose founding twin goals were “to equip our students with the ability to bring God’s healing power to reconcile individuals and to restore community wholeness” and “to restore law to its historic roots in the Bible.” If you want, you can delve even deeper into the nitty gritty fanaticity (yes, I just coined that) of the aptly-named Dominionists by reading the words of the son of one of said theologians himself.
But I digress. What’s got me particularly riled today is actually the effect of Bachmann’s candidacy on women and our future as one-half of this country.
You see, good feminist that I am, I judge women exactly the same as I judge men. Hillary, Sarah, Michele—you don’t score extra points with me just because you’ve got a vagina. It’s infinitely more significant to me that you are a (choose one) lying manipulative hack / raging idiot / certifiably lunatic religious fanatic. So when I first heard, back in May, that New Jersey high school sophomore Amy Myers had challenged Michele Bachmann to a “Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics,” I thought “Good for her! This woman’s knowledge and interpretation of American history are just embarrassing. She totally needs to be taken down. And by a teenager. Go, girl!”
What had not yet occurred to me, however, was the impact the kinds of things Bachmann was saying could have, and was already having, on young people—specifically on their views of women leaders.
In her letter to Bachmann, Myers wrote: “As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole.”
Now, that is one eloquent teenager. Who is, unfortunately, dead on. It hit me hardest when, in a subsequent interview, Myers characterized Bachmann’s frequent misstatements as an embarrassment to all women with political ambitions, making it harder for them to be taken seriously in politics. “It took until the 19th amendment for women to be able to vote, and now it seems like the most famous women in politics are kind of jokes,” she is quoted as saying.
“It seems like at school there’s always a separation between what people think men can do and what women can do,” Myers said. “If a girl says she wants to go into politics, people say ‘Oh yeah, like Michele Bachmann?’”
When I read that, it just about broke my heart.
Really? Really? Has it really come to this?
Is this really where we are at now in this country? Have we come this far to have our hard-won accomplishments (meager though they often may seem) nullified by fucktards just because those fucktards are women? Just because there are enough other fucktards around to vote them into public office?
And all this is without even mentioning her frightening stance on the truly critical issues affecting women’s rights in this country—which is of course dictated by her religious beliefs. Who was made from whose rib? Who was given dominion over the earth and all the other living creatures on it? You got it, ladies.
I’m not sure how much worse it has to get before the sane people in this country realize we’re in fucking serious trouble and whatever you think you’re doing to fight against it, well, it ain’t bloody good enough, now, is it?
I don’t have an answer to this, and I consider myself even more jaded than the Rude One, whose response, when I asked him if he’d recommend reading Winner Take All Politics, was: “At this point, I don’t know if I can read more depressing shit topped with a few encouraging words about organizing.”
So, yeah. I’m not going to do that. I find it hard to believe it would be possible to organize our way out of the mess this country is in. A lot of us had hope in 2008. (And I say hope, not crazy-ass expectations that Obama was the second coming and was going to fix all the fucked-up shit and everything would be better forever. Please.) Where’s that hope now? Hope has left the building, motherfuckers. And more and more, I’m starting to think we sane folks should just leave the goddamned country and watch the crumbling of this empire from afar instead of continuing to clutch our front-row-seat tickets to the apocalypse in our sweaty little paws.
I can hear you now.
“What? A new blog post?”
“It hasn’t even been a whole year since the last one!”
Once in a while somebody (OK, my dad) asks me about my blog, and it used to be I’d say, “Yeah, I keep meaning to write something for it.” Until I finally did. Then, once I posted my big ol’ where-the-hell-have-I-been update (aka the final chapter in The Lavafoot Chronicles), it just didn’t really occur to me to do any more blogging. Why? I guess I haven’t felt I had anything to say.
Then the Rude Pundit, whose blog I love (but, be warned, is not for the faint of heart), asked me to be a guest blogger during his annual vacation-week-of-guest-bloggers. I was incredibly flattered. Not to mention a bit bewildered. In past years his guests have included bloggers like Angry Black Bitch and Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. I’m not even a “real” blogger.
In trying to decide whether I should take up the challenge, I asked the advice of a writer friend. “I don’t have anything interesting to say,” I whined to him. “For someone who doesn’t have anything to say,” he said, “you sure post a hell of a lot on Facebook.” He had me there.
So I accepted the Rude One’s invitation, and in doing some of the background research for my post—which you can read on rudepundit.blogspot.com this Friday, August 19—I of course came upon several things I just had to share, and did so where I usually do these days: on Facebook.
And why not the larger world? What the hell, I decided. I may as well warm up my “audience” by posting some of that here. For those of you uninterested in Mia’s political rants, however, be warned, you may want to stick to my photo albums and photos of the day (which I do hope to start doing again, as I have *so* many more for you…).
And so here begins my official blog post (yes, pilfered from Facebook). Which might or might not be the start of a new chapter in ‘miandering, the blog.’ We shall see.
This week’s New Yorker piece on Michele Bachmann by Ryan Lizza is, I think, a must-read for all who care about the future of this country (and beyond). So please, yes, read it. But, I know, reading an entire New Yorker article takes dedication. So for a quick and bitter taste of the radical theocracy espoused by not one but two serious contenders for the office of president of the United States (a country founded, you may recall, on the separation of church and state), I suggest you check out this Daily Beast column by Michelle Goldberg.
Then, if you just haven’t had enough, you might want to delve even deeper into the nitty gritty of the radical religious right and its ideological forbears by checking out “Michele Bachmann Was Inspired By My Dad and His Christian Reconstructionist Friends — Here’s Why That’s Terrifying,” written by the son of one of those very forbears. You will learn everything you need to know about Christian Reconstructionists (also, and more aptly, called Dominionists) who believe “It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion.”.
Be scared, people. Be very scared.