Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Gay Love in California

So California finally got their shit together, and in 30 days same-sex couples will have the right to marry. The Schwartz says he won't veto this time. It could potentially get fucked up in November, if conservative groups get an amendment to the state's constitution on the ballot. But, let's be honest--what can't get fucked up in November?

I have a hobby, which is to try to stake out a unique position on partisan issues that I view as having become too polarized (meaning, predictable) to provide me with the level of entertainment necessary to keep me interested and engaged in the public discourse. Basically, if I simply take the 'left' position, any time the topic comes up I am limited to an already well-established set of arguments, and consistently encounter the exact same counter-arguments. Boooooo-ring.

On the issue of same-sex marriage, my position is this: The state should not recognize same-sex marriage. Additionally, I don't think that the state should recognize hetero marriages, either. Marriage is idiosyncratic and personal. All of the legal functions that a spouse serves could be handled by a partner of your choice. You could update your partner online, just like you update your address with the DMV. Seriously, how easy is that!?

However, there is your ideal position, and then there is your real-life position that is informed by the conditions present in the real world. So, of course I think this is a good thing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Millennials Again

Bob Herbert, who I am normally not that fond of, has written a column about my generation that is pretty interesting, if for no other reason than it is not horribly offensive (as is every other thing I have read or seen about 'millennials'). The piece is at once depressing and vindicating, saying that because our generation has gotten royally fucked over by the government and conservative politics, we are more progressive:

Often saddled with debt, and with their job prospects gloomy, young Americans feel their government ought to be doing more to enhance their prospects. They want increased investments in education, health care and initiatives aimed at expanding the economy and fostering the growth of good jobs.

I think it's interesting that Herbert doesn't mention civil rights issues as being potential contributing factors to our generation's progressive stance. Unlike the older generations, we have grown up in desegregated schools and communities, with gay friends and classmates. Also, many of us are sluts and cherish our right to have an abortion (kidding?). Conservatives running around trying to limit or infringe upon the rights of us, our friends, and our loved ones has taken its toll. Also, I know that every generation thinks that the world is going to end (my mom told me that when she was a teenager she was positive that the world would be blown up by 1980), but I'm gonna go ahead and pull the global warming card and say that I at least feel like the older generation (and I often consider myself to be part of the older generation, here) has really dropped the ball on some pretty important shit. Old, oil-grubbing conservatives do not help themselves by denying the existence of a problem that threatens to fuck up our lives and our children's lives.

Any way, this entire post is really only intended to give me an excuse to share one of my If-I-Was-Ruler-of-My-Own-Country fantasies, which is this: wouldn't it be cool if your vote was weighted in proportion to the number of years you would have to live with the effects? Like, if you're 65, you've got like 20 years left. I've got a good 60 years left in me. Shoudn't my vote count triple what yours counts?

Then again, if I was the ruler of my own country, it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't let anyone else vote'd just be me and the cabana boys, who are just there to look pretty and work the palm fronds.

Friday, May 9, 2008

This is why I don't watch TV

I saw this commercial on TV today. Perhaps the most exquisite and beautiful piece of treachery that I have ever seen.

"The "Human Element" showcases Dow's commitment to addressing global economic, social and environmental concerns."

See also: Dow Chemical fucking kills and maims people on a regular fucking basis by permeating the planet with toxic poisonous deformity-creating bullshit

See also: Whoever created this ad spot, I hope you drown in a giant pool of money and dioxin

Friday, April 18, 2008

Love and Healing

Shannon: i am in a coffeeshop
Shannon: and i just overheard
Shannon: the following conversation
Dan: k
Shannon: girl: "what was your novel about?"
Shannon: guy (solemn): "my novel was about a guy who was in love with a girl who died in the twin towers."
Shannon: "so it's a love story, but also about healing."
Shannon: girl (earnestly): "wow, i'd really like to read that."
Dan: wow, i would really like to read it too
Shannon: totally
Dan: you should ask him to send it to me
Shannon: it's also about healing
Dan: that is the part that got me interested
Dan: i mean , love stories .. are just love stories
Dan: but add healing
Shannon: love + healing = ALL YOU NEED
Dan: finally, someone is starting to talk about 911
Shannon: talking is the first step
Shannon: to healing
Dan: healing
Dan: is .... love
Dan: thats the twist in the end
Dan: what if
Dan: though
Dan: the healing
Dan: was about
Dan: actual healing
Dan: like
Dan: physical
Dan: healing
Dan: like regeneration
Shannon: like
Shannon: the whole thing is about him recovering from rotator cuff surgery
Shannon: and also btw his gf died
Shannon: but that's a sub-plot
Dan: in 911
Shannon: it's really about healing
Shannon: see, what a lot of people don't realize
Shannon: is that physical therapy can be intensely emotionally demanding
Dan: and so can love
Shannon: exactly.
Dan: hey , is that guy cute?
Shannon: not really
Shannon: moderately cute
Shannon: i'm actually not wearing my glasses

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Call it, Friendo

Paul Krugman, who I have been eyeing ever since his bludgeoning support of Hillary's healthcare mandates, issued a pretty bold challenge on Monday:

Now, I don’t expect presidential campaigns to have all the answers to our current crisis — even financial experts are scrambling to keep up with events. But I do think we’re entitled to more answers, and in particular a clearer commitment to financial reform, than we’re getting so far.

And, more specifically:

On the Democratic side, it’s somewhat disappointing that Barack Obama, whose campaign has understandably made a point of contrasting his early opposition to the Iraq war with Hillary Clinton’s initial support, has tried to score a twofer by suggesting that the war, in addition to all its other costs, is responsible for our economic troubles....Hillary Clinton has not, as far as I can tell, made any comparably problematic economic claims. But she, like Mr. Obama, has been disappointingly quiet about the key issue: the need to reform our out-of-control financial system.

When I read that, I put down my guns a little--because I agreed with him. And today, not three days later, Obama let loose with what in my eyes went above and beyond the call of duty in responding to the challenge. I read his entire speech on renewing the American economy, and it took me almost two hours because I read each paragraph like, three times, and had to look up all these words I didn't know. But there it was: not only a commitment to reform, but a clear demonstration that he has the necessary understanding and judgment required in order to follow through with that commitment. Clinton, too made a speech (on Monday), which consisted of her reciting everything that she has already proposed--i.e. proposed prior to Krugman's assertion that she has not proposed enough. And, frankly, she hasn't proposed enough. Her plan amounts to little more than a bail-out combined with punishment for those that exploit the system--not a reform of the system itself.

I'm waiting, now, eager to see how Krugman fields this. His refusal to acknowledge that there was any value in Obama's healthcare plan without once even mentioning the portion of the plan that sought to reform our healthcare economic system made me very suspicious--he's supposed to be fucking economist, after all. So here we are: the moment of truth. I can't wait to see what he says.

UPDATE: Here it is... BLAH

New Study

Shannon: 1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says
Shannon: it always annoys me
Shannon: when they call that a study
Shannon: "study"
Shannon: like
Shannon: oh really
Shannon: so you took the total prison population and divided it by the total US population
Shannon: that's a study?
Shannon: because it sounds like fourth-grade math
Roy: hahaha
Shannon: it's called a ratio
Shannon: i should start doing "studies"
Shannon: like...
Roy: according this STUDY i just did, 4 plus 5 equals 9
Shannon: right?
Shannon: now give me one million dollars.
Roy: hahaah

Suffocation Roulette

I was reading this NYT blog post about a dangerous choking game that kids play to get 'high' (the sweet, sweet euphoria of brain cell death is apparently such a staple of teenage entertainment as to be sought well outside the trusted illicit sources of drugs and alcohol). The post is intended to educate parents about this game, as may kids don't realize that it could kill them. Quote:

In addition to discussing the dangers of the game with their children, parents should look for signs that kids may be playing. The game has several aliases. Parents should listen for names like Blackout, Flatliner, Fainting Game, California Choke, Dream Game, Airplaning, Suffocation Roulette, Space Cowboy and the Pass-Out Game.

I'm not trying to make fun of the post, because I agree that this is an important thing for parents to be aware of. But I just thought it was funny. Hey Mom, hey Dad...we're going to go play suffocation roulette. Okay, honey--WAIT. IS THAT A DANGEROUS GAME? I THINK I READ ABOUT IT IN THE NEW YORK TIMES.

No, but seriously parents. Suffocation Roulette is not a shitty Ozzy rip-off band. It is a dangerous game that could kill your child.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Intelligence in America

My favorite thing about Barack Obama is how smart he is. Honestly, I think that he's great because of the hope and the integrity and all that, but I really do believe that all that stuff is really just a function of his intelligence. People keep talking about how his speech was risky and brave...I don't agree. I think that once that speech began to form in his mind he lost all fear of how it would 'play out,' because he knew that he could write a speech that was exactly what the country needed to hear. Not many people can do that.

I've been scanning the news and the blogs for reactions to his speech, and I kept stumbling across some really kooky shit. We've got the people who got it. But, then, you've got people who say unintentionally ironic things like "He avoided the real issue, which is the comments of Rev. Wright" (paraphrasing an NPR commentator my boss told me about today). Or the people who continue to try to make an issue of Rev. Wright, by saying things like:

"The more I think about what was actually said in Obama's speech, the more infuriated I am. As if I, as a white person, have something to answer for when it is OBAMA that's been mentored by a hate mongering racist!"

Okay, that was a little unfair. Who knows who that fucking guy was, I found that in the comments section of some random thing. BUT it illustrates my point, which is that when you have someone making speeches this intelligent (more importantly, when the President of the country makes all his speeches and decisions with this level of intelligence), it casts a much-needed light on the intelligence of everyone else. Valuing ideas for their intelligence has become pretty rare in our public discourse--or, if not rare, warped beyond recognition.

So when I hear people talk about Obama, it's amazing. It's like I've got a heat-seeking radar for intelligence: Wow, she's smart. Wow, he's a moron. Smart. Moron. Moron. Smart. And to be honest, I'm a bit surprised at times. Like Huckabee, who I had assumed (due primarily to my own bias towards the religious community, it's worth noting) was a complete idiot, had some pretty intelligent and open-minded things to say on the issue of Rev. Wright.

Valuing intelligence is very important. I'm not saying that stupid people should be deported or anything like that--most of these people are not even really stupid, they're just saying stupid things (and who can blame them? Saying stupid things has made many a lucrative career in this country). Many (MANY) of the things that are wrong with the country and furthermore with the world can be attributed to people just not thinking. If we put people's ability to think intelligently back in the spotlight, not only will those ideas with the most merit rise to the top, but those aspects of our collective stupidity that are largely self-imposed (choosing not to think as opposed to not being able to) will begin to right themselves. That makes me excited, for sure.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Speech

If you haven't seen the speech yet, watch it. And read it. Really, I think you should both watch it AND read it. It is easily the best speech by a public figure I have ever heard in my lifetime. I'm pretty sure I could still say that if I was twenty years older. I don't know, whatever, this speech has completely transcended anything that I have ever witnessed in American politics.

I'm not even going to link to it. Seriously, it's the fucking internet, it's not that hard. Google "best speech ever, period."

Oh, and one more thing, prompted not by the speech itself but by all this white-person rage over Jeremiah Wright's comments: If I ever hear another white person complain about 'reverse racism,' I am going to punch them in the face. Seriously. Get the fuck over yourselves. "Black people blaming stuff on white people is racist." Really? Do you even fucking KNOW what racism is? No, you fucking don't. Racism as a concept (oooh, it seems like the opposite, but really it's the same thing!) and racism as something that you fucking experience as a limiting and oppressive force throughout your entire life are two totally different things. So shut. The fuck. Up.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Obviously a presidential nomination contest that pits the first viable woman candidate against the first viable black candidate will shake things up a little bit in the standard discourse about race and gender. We've seen questionable comments slip from the mouths of supporters of both sides, and we've seen quite the media stampede to denounce them time and time again.

I think it's important, though, to note a pattern. From Joe Biden's slip over a year ago to the "pimping Chelsea out" comment on MSNBC and now to Geraldine Ferraro's "lucky to be black" shitstorm, we've seen some pretty ridiculous comments that have aggravated already sensitive relations. Let's look at Ferraro. She said that if Barack Obama were not black, that he would not be where he is today. Then, defending herself later, she said that of course this is the truth. If she hadn't been a woman, she wouldn't have been selected as Mondale's running mate. Likewise, if Obama weren't black, he wouldn't be where he is now. It's the truth! She said. Then she spun reverse-racism, and the feeding frenzy began again.

As much as Ferraro's comments irritate me, I think there is a critical distinction here that a lot of people are missing. Her comments are being touted as racist. I don't think they're racist--I think they're just plain stupid. I don't mean stupid as an empty insult--I mean literally stupid; unintelligent. If Obama weren't black, she's right, he may not be where he is now. If he had stayed in NYC when he was young instead of moving to Chicago, he may not be where he is now. If he had not slept in one morning and missed the train on his way to class, he may not be where he is now. All of these comments are potentially true and simultaneously completely worthless. So I agree with Ferraro's defense of herself that she was not being racist. I think that there is a difference between a person making racist comments and a stupid person making stupid comments that have to do with race. These people are not trying to demean others because of their skin color or gender--they are trying to show off their logical reasoning skills (however flawed they may be). The fact is that race is a hot issue right now, as is gender. ("Pimping Chelsea out"--sexist? Really? Or just idiotic, like something a drunk frat boy might say if he were allowed an appearance on national television.) And that means that a lot of people are going to be speaking up with their original position on the matter--and a lot of these people are going to be stupid, and their positions will follow.

The reason I think this is important is because there IS some major, widespread "-ism" going on with this election. And it's happening everywhere--the mainstream media, in private conversations, in mass e-mails, in blogs. People are saying that Barack Obama is a muslim, and people are defending him by saying THAT'S NOT TRUE!!! I can count the number of times I've heard the response "no, actually he's not, but so what if he was?" on one hand. The muslim label is being invoked and rejected as though it categorically defines a person's fitness for office. That, my friends, is what we need to be fighting. That is what the dissolution of racism and sexism in this country has revealed as the next frontier of bigotry--bias that nobody is fighting, that both sides reinforce, as though it were an aspect of reality rather than our own minds. Check this video where they get Barack's reflection on an Ohio voter's mispronouncement of his faith:

The worst part of this video is not the sad, sad ignorance of the voter they interviewed, but rather where it ends: Cutting Barack off in mid-sentence as he tries to explain how this rumor is offensive not only to him, but to muslims as well. I guess that's not part of the story of bigotry in America today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mixed Reality

Scientists have finally grabbed their balls and done something to blur the line between reality and virtual reality. This is the kind of science that it's really beneficial to know about because you sound really cool at parties when you casually say things like "mixed-reality state" and "bidirectional instantaneous coupling":

Using a virtual pendulum and its real-world counterpart, scientists at the University of Illinois have created the first mixed reality state in a physical system. Through bidirectional instantaneous coupling, each pendulum "sensed" the other, their motions became correlated, and the two began swinging as one.

Awesome! Right? Uh....

From flight simulators to video games, virtual worlds are becoming more and more accurate depictions of the real world. There could come a point, a phase transition, where the boundary between reality and virtual reality disappears, Hubler said. And that could present problems.

As cool as that sounds (note: it sounds really fucking cool) I think that anyone who understands science knows what the most probable outcome of this type of experimentation is:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Oh, Ohio

So according to MSNBC:

In Ohio, 1-in-5 Democratic voters said race was an important factor in making their decision. In that group, 8-in-10 voted for Hillary Clinton.

So, that's sixteen percent of Ohio Democratic voters that are racist. Democrats. The non-racist party. Not only are they racist, but they are SO racist that they will flat-out state that they are racist--no subconscious shit bubbling to the surface, no latent shit emerging, they flat out stated their preference for white people in an exit poll. Hillary won by ten percent of the popular vote, as of this morning's count. Congratulations, Hillary! You won Ohio because you're white.

So I was talking to Dan and Roy about this last night, as ichatting on primary/caucus nights is my new preferred social activity, and I was thinking if I was interviewing someone for a job, and I didn't hire the person, and then I told the labor department or whatever that race was an "important factor" in making my decision, I'd get fucking sued. Why? Because it's illegal.

Last night I told Roy:

I think seriously on the ballot
they should put questions like
"do you think that black people should be allowed to marry white people?"
"do you think that women should be legally allowed to hold a job?"
"do you think it's acceptable for a black person to make as much money as a white person for doing the same job?"
if you cant agree with the current laws
you shouldn't be allowed to vote on new ones

and then it could make a noise
when you put your ballot in to be counted
like the noise on game shows when you lose
and it could say

But now, looking back, I'm realizing how much more complicated it is. If you don't agree with the current laws OF COURSE YOU SHOULD be able to vote on new laws! That's precisely how we got civil rights in the first place, and that's how we will continue to secure civil rights for those that need them. But in that gut-instinct place of my stomach that cries unfairness first and loudest, I feel like there should be a certain cutting-off point with regards to the progressiveness of our society. We ARE moving forward, aren't we? Can't we all agree that this is forward? I mean, "all men are created equal" DOES actually have a concrete meaning in the world.

If this race was closer, I'd be beside myself, afraid that racists would decide the future of this country--as though they didn't already do that, when we invaded Iraq. Please, please please racist voters. This country is growing up, please come with us.

UPDATE: I have been scolded by a coworker who says that the above MSNBC quote does not automatically equate to 16% of Ohio voters being racist. She points out that someone could both consider race to be important for civil rights reasons and have voted for Hillary. I think she's right, and happily conceded the point to her. However, some of those motherfuckers are racist, I'm sure of it.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Recession! LA LA LA LA LA

So I'm sure you've all heard about the Fed's scrambling attempts to stave off a recession....

And I'm sure you've hear the White House's take on the situation:

"I have not heard at all that we have changed our outlook, and we are not forecasting a recession," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters traveling with President George W. Bush to California for the start of a tour of western states.

Anyway, Roy had a twitch of deja-vu and sent me this link about a 2004 statement made by our administration's favorite hulkish dialysis patient, OOoooooOOOoosama bin LADEN. Pertinent quote?

"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.

He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."

As Roy put it, "dude, nobody, myself included, really pays enough attention."

The worst part? I kind of don't even know what a recession means. Like, I know conceptually what it is, but like...what's going to happen? Everything will get more expensive? Our dollar will be devalued? If you're in a recession long enough, then our big corporations can't compete in the global market and the US job market begins to crash? These are guesses, and I'm sure they're only part of the picture. I hate shit like this, when you realize, oh, hey, I'm a fucking grown-up, this is actually pretty scary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mean Science

You may remember the naked mole rat from studies a while ago on longevity: they live to be like, 30. Also, they are the only known coldblooded mammal, which may explain the nakedness. Scientists have now found that the naked mole rat is immune to certain types of burning pain, including the sting of acid and chili peppers. These findings may help scientists working on chronic pain management solutions.

"Their insensitivity to acid was very surprising," Park told LiveScience. "Every animal tested — from fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and all other mammals — every animal is sensitive to acid."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some orphans that need stabbing.

Honestly, animal testing is one of those things where you can argue either side. I get it. But something like pain management--honestly, if you have so much pain that you need to manage it, then you have some kind of underlying problem. Making the pain go away will only make the problem worse because you won't be able to feel what's going on. The field of medical pain management has produced more prescription-drug addicts than any other field of medicine. Yes, I know there's no point in blogging about this. It's the least of our billion too-complex-to-solve problems. Blah blah blah blah blah.

God sometimes the hardest thing to admit is that I just don't care.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good Morning! You're a Drug Addict.

New studies show that caffeine is Bad. How bad? Like...Super Bad.

But only if you have type-2 diabetes.

Or if you're pregnant (and not hoping for a miscarriage, aka free abortion).

Okay, let's face it, it's gotta be bad for everyone, they just haven't found enough things to test yet in a controlled study.

It's like, coffee is my last bastion of sin. I barely smoke cigarrettes anymore, they make me sick after one night. Alcohol has gotten really annoying. All the real drugs are just too much trouble to bother with. But coffee, I still love to love coffee. This is even after I discovered that soy milk is bad for you (not because it makes you gay, but because it lines your stomach with soy-wax, preventing you from absorbing nutrients), so I am drinking not-as-scrumptious cow's milk lattes, but STILL. I still love it. So, so much. So so so much.

Consolation: at least I've still got premarital sex. FOR NOW.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I've been thinking recently about the President. No, not him. Just the role of President, specifically of the United States.

I've been thinking that for some reason, most presidents seem to be former lawyers. Like, they're lawyers, and then they become prominent and then they go into politics and then they become president. I'm not actually sure if this is true or if this is just what I've always thought, but whatever, go with it. I mean it makes sense that a lawyer would go into politics, because they have to learn a bunch of stuff that relates to civics in general just to practice.

One of my friends who is a psychologist was telling me that he thinks the reason that Hillary won't get elected is because archetypally she's a fighter. And we are all really, really sick of fighters--Bush is a fighter too. We're sick of having our country led by someone who wants to defeat everyone.

So I was thinking, like...what is a lawyer but a fighter? I mean that's what lawyers are paid to do. A client gives them money, and they go on to use every resource at their disposal to defeat the opposition so that their client can win. To me, this is creepy. Because that's what the presidency has become in a way. That is bad, even if the 'client' were the American people, which it isn't. I think we're all well aware that the client in this case is people with money. You know, big soul-less corporations, Saudi sheiks, other jerks. And I'm not just talking about the Bushies, because economic neoliberalism gets its rocks off in the democratic party too. Sure, it's a benchmark of neoconservative policy, but that shit went down in the Clinton era too, and it goes down in Congress as we speak.

Honestly, that's one of the things I like a LOT about Obama. He was a lawyer, and he quit to become a community organizer. He was working in poor communities to organize people. In fact, I quote: "What if a politician were to see his job as that of an organizer?" (Barack Obama, quoted in the Chicago Reader 12/8/95) No, SERIOUSLY. What is the president but an organizer of people? The organizer of this big community of Americans? The fact that Obama sees himself as an organizer and not a fighter is apparent in his speeches and his policies. Because to a fighter, there is always us and them. To republican fighters, the them is the immoral, the muslims, the hippies. To democratic fighters, the them is big business, the religious right, etc. Obama never tries to polarize shit like that. To him, everyone is part of the community that he must organize to help itself become better.

On that note, here is my favorite part of Obama's SC victory speech:

What we've seen in these last weeks is that we're also up against forces that are not the fault of any one campaign but feed the habits that prevent us from being who we want to be as a nation. It's a politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon, a politics that tells us that we have to think, act, and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us, the assumption that young people are apathetic, the assumption that Republicans won't cross over, the assumption that the wealthy care nothing for the poor and that the poor don't vote, the assumption that African-Americans can't support the white candidate, whites can't support the African-American candidate, blacks and Latinos cannot come together. We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Whale Hunt

You know what's beautiful? 3,000 photographs of a whale hunt.. Particularly the end of the series of photographs, where you see all of these people, it seems like the whole village is out there to help. And then the colors, of the blood and the whale skin and the meat and the snow. I've got that color palate stuck in my head now, I think that when I finally getting around to designing my website I'm going to use the whale hunt colors.

I recommend auto-play at first, and you can use the timeline to skip around. From the about section:

Running along the bottom edge of the screen is a timeline, representing the entire whale hunt trip, beginning with the taxi ride to Newark airport and ending with the butchering of the second whale, seven days later. The timeline is pictured as a medical heartbeat graph whose magnitude at each point corresponds to the photographic frequency (and thus the level of excitement) at that moment.

(From Shane)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The top four sickest things about being on the rag that no girl will ever tell you

1. Pooping
You have to time your pooping. Why? Because there is a string hanging out of your vagina. It's like a little tail, and it's also like a little poop magnet. If you try to poop without also changing your tampon, you risk getting poop on the tampon string. It's not super common, and you can avoid it by being careful, but it's a lot to manage when you can't even see most of the area in question. Also, it is so so disgusting when it does happen that it's worth being hypervigilant. So you have to like pull the string up, poop, wipe very carefully. Sometimes when you poop the tampon starts to come out a little, like it's pushed out by whatever kind of intravaginal pressure results from the poop coming out. Then you have to change the tampon, because having it partway out hurts. So it's important to time your poops so you can just change tampons at the same time and not have to worry about any of it. But, as a coffee drinker, sometimes this is not so feasible. Even if it is, there is still the toilet full of bloody poop.

2. Scraping
The reason you have to time the poops is because if you take the tampon out too early it scrapes. This is not so much painful as just gross and unpleasant, like imagine filling your mouth with cotton balls. The tampon has to be soaked enough with blood so that it's moderately lubricated when you pull it out, otherwise it's rough cotton dragging across dry parched vagina. This is not such an issue on your heaviest days, but there are a good 3-4 days every month where you have to be careful of this.

3. Chunks
It's funny because like you would imagine the blood coming out of your vagina during menstruation to be a bit like the blood that comes out of your arm or leg when you get cut or scraped. But it's not. It's got all sorts of chunky tissue in it. Mostly they look like little jellies, or little blobs of glue, but sometimes they're more textured. These chunks don't sink into the tampon, but rather just kind of cling to it, so when you pull the tampon out they like to wave and say hello. Sometimes I just sit on the toilet and peer between my legs as they hit the water. They look like some kinda sick cross between a jellyfish and a maggot, only blood red, and when they hit the water they sink to the floor of the toilet, leaving a trail of bloody water coming off of them. It's kind of pretty, only also disgusting. I read once that 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester, and that the women don't even know it because they're passed with the menstrual flow. Consequently, I always wonder when I see those chunks if one of them may be my son or daughter.

4. Cramps
Yeah yeah yeah. We've all heard how bad they are. You know what? No you fucking haven't. Menstruation is the lining of your uterus--all those chunks we talked about--being shed. It's sort of like an internal scab being ripped off--and that's what it feels like. Imagine the lining of one of your internal organs being sloughed off. The closest thing that I can direct you to for an example of what this feels like is when you are bleeding from a wound. Do you know how when you cut yourself, the aching feeling of losing blood? Great, now imagine your entire pelvic area feeling like that. If you let yourself focus on it, you will inevitably think Oh god, I am going to bleed to DEATH.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Conversations with Rudy

How do you feel about your sixth place finish in Iowa, Mr. Giuliani?
None of this worries me. September 11, there were times I was worried.

Would you care to comment on Hillary's emotional moment, Mr. Guiliani?
This is not something I would judge anyone on. The reality is, if you look at me, September 11 — the funerals, the memorial services — there were times in which it was impossible not to feel the emotion.

Would you like paper or plastic, Mr. Giuliani?
It's interesting that you would ask that because one thing I learned on September 11 was that nothing--not paper, not plastic--will make up for the lost lives of innocent American citizens.

Mr. Giuliani, would you like fries with that?
Yes, I would like fries with that. For who am I to the victims of September 11 if I do not honor them by living every day to the fullest? If I do not relish in the small pleasures? Make those chili fries, good citizen. Supersized.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Obama on Healthcare

You know, I can ignore most of the bullshit that comes out of Hillary Clinton's mouth. But now she's getting I think a bit desperate and is attacking Obama on healthcare. Hillary says that Obama's healthcare plan will leave 15 million people uninsured. When she said that all I could think was Oh, warping the facts to create fear. Familiar strategy.

There are two major differences, in my mind, between Hillary's and Obama's healthcare plans, and this "leaving 15 million people uninsured" soundbyte refers to the first difference. That difference is that while Hillary's plan makes it mandatory that all Americans purchase health insurance, Obama's plan does not. They both will make it cheaper for poorer Americans through subsidies, etc.--but Hillary's plan states that you will be punished (with a fine) if you do not buy this new cheaper subsidized health insurance. Obama's plan says that yes, the government will help out, but if you don't want it or still don't think you can afford it then we will not force you to purchase insurance. So yes, Hillary, Obama's plan may leave people uninsured, because he won't have forced them to do something against their will. Fuck you.

The second difference between Obama's healthcare plan and the plans of both Clinton and Edwards is subtle but massively important. Obama's healthcare plan has a real and viable strategy for lowering the ridiculous costs of healthcare that pad the wallets of insurance and pharmaceutical company CEOs. The problem with healthcare in this country is that the system is fundamentally rigged, and Obama demonstrates not only an understanding of that and a willingness to go to work on it, but also that he knows how to work on it. These issues are complex and largely invisible to the public, but he totally, totally gets it--more than I do, more than you do, more than anyone else in Washington does. Check it:

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on why Obama's plan is better than not only Clinton's, but also Edwards' strategy of overruning the special interest groups by excluding them from the discussion:

Obama's idea is a better one: Get every special interest out in the open on television, where the new president can cross-examine them and expose their phony rationalizations for charging $100 a pill or denying coverage to sick people...Then, having triumphed over the drug and insurance companies in the court of public opinion, the legislative victories will follow.

Also, here is a long but easy-to-read blog post that does a great job of explaining why Obama's plan for healthcare reform is a-fucking-mazing. If you want to really understand his plan (without the burden of working in the healthcare field for years and years), you should definitely read this. Quote:

Most amazing of all, Obama’s speech shows deep understanding of health-care economics. It recognizes that real solutions to real problems require more than just points on a list. Obama seems to understand the quantitative effect of his proposals—i.e., how much each point will likely improve things—and his priorities reflect that understanding. That fact alone puts him so far ahead of most politicians that he seems to be from another species. It is as if he were Homo sapiens, and the rest Neanderthals.

The thing that's driving me nuts here is that people, like Hillary and this guy Paul Krugman from the NY Times, are criticizing Obama's plan not because it's bad but because they don't understand it. And Obama doesn't waste time trying to explain the complex nuances of his brilliance: He's got the platform he's chosen to be elected on and the brilliance will sneak in the back door. Sadly, in this country, you can't be elected on the merit of being smart enough to comprehensively solve major, seemingly unreconcilable problems that ever American citizen faces. That's not a good soundbyte.