Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Evo Morales is my hero!

Evo Morales on The Daily Show:

If you have not seen it, you've *got* to! It's *amazing*!

Also: Bill Clinton's interview...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Notice to All University of South Florida Students!

If you happen to know a guy who may or may not have dark hair (I couldn't see that well, it was dark) and drives a early-90s (maybe late-80s) model, dark red Toyota Corolla 4-door sedan with a standard Florida licence plate (not one of the ones you have to pay extra for) who was also on campus tonight (Tuesday) at approximately 9:15 - 9:20 PM, please let me know who he is and where I can find him and his car... He's got some karma coming due. He needs to have someone slander his mama for not raising her boy right. He possibly needs a hard bitch-slap (quite possibly). He might, if he's unrepentant, also not be undeserving of having his tires slashed and car keyed... and if Nemesis is feeling particularly pissed off, he may also need some sugar in his gas tank, you know, since it was used in the perpetration of a crime. (Okay, so I'm sure I wouldn't do all that. But I might leave him a nice letter. And if I saw him, I would tell him that "You're the son of sailor's whore and have one for a girlfriend too," since that must be the case.)

"What is this crime you speak of?" you might ask. As I was walking out of my very long and very painful class this evening, looking forward to driving home in peace and quiet and then doing some Latin homework, just as I reached the sidewalk to the side of the Social Sciences Building, he and his skank ass girlfriend shouted out his car window at me. The girlfriend's words were unintelligible, possibly slurred. His were quite clear: "Loose some weight!"


I did not know these people. It was entirely random and uncalled for. If I had left the building 30 seconds later or even 2 minutes before, they never would have seen me.

After slowing down to notify me, the only person on the side walk, of his opinion, he stepped on the accelerator, and they drove away, laughing as if they had just heard the funniest Lewis Black joke ever told. I did yell, "Bite me!" after them, but I'm sure they couldn't hear me over the distance, engine and their laughter at their own "joke" (obviously, they don't know that you're not supposed to laugh at them yourself). He was last seen at approximately 9:15 PM driving south on Maple Drive and turned left onto Alumni, speeding and cackling loudly.

It is my sincere and heartfelt hope that 10 minutes later he crashed his car into something really hard, and that both he and his whore are lying on some road somewhere slowing and painfully dying of their wounds... or better yet, that their car exploded just enough to melt the locks, but not enough that they die quickly in the flames... His parents and hers would deserve their unending grief because they obviously raised total blights on society and the world would be better off if those two abortions had never gotten away. God forbid they ever reproduce! I wish them both sterile! At the very least, I hope he gets a ticket for speeding in the very near future, if he was drinking that he gets a DUI. And since he's so cavalier with the speed bumps on Maple, I really hope his engine falls out the bottom of the car one of these days, just "plunk!" in the middle of the road. Total bonus if the ensuing and unexpected accident kills him.

I'll tell you one thing though. They're damn lucky I'm not an avenging goddess or their asses would be turning on the spit right now!

Seriously, goddamn, I don't have enough to deal with right now that I have to also endure *this* at the end of a really hard day in a long line of hard days? I feel like slitting my wrists and saying "fuck it!" to the world.

Theory of History class again...

This week: Postmodernism...

Now I think I get the line "compare and contrast Michel Foucault with Batman and Robin" from Queer As Folk...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I slept all day today... No, really, all day. I meant to get up around noon or so, but I flipped off my alarm and went right back out again and I woke up at 5. It isn't completely my fault. The barometric pressure is really low. It's been raining all afternoon. I've noticed when it does this and I'm sleeping, I fall into a really deep sleep. The only good thing is that I get all caught up on all the sleep I've lost. The bad thing is that I don't get up to do what I need to do so I can get a decent night's sleep the next night. ::sighs:: Off to read about Foucault...

Friday, September 21, 2007

On Erev Yom Kippur...

So every High Holy Days, I want to do a blog entry about something having to do with them (although, I notice that I didn't last year)... In the past, it has been commentary on sermons or sharing favorite hymns. This year, I want to share a large portion of the Unetaneh Tokef, which I think I've mentioned before.

The Unetaneh Tokef is a medieval prayer, born of the martyrdom of Rabbi Amnon of Mayence by tradition. The account goes something like this: For refusing to be converted to Catholicism by the Bishop of Mayence, he was tortured and left to die of his wounds. He languished several days, and on Rosh Hashanah, he died after speaking this prayer.

I'm not terribly fond of this translation, but it is serviceable enough and I (once again) have not gotten my own copy of the Gates of Repentance or I'd use that one. I like that one... This one is close. I only quibble over a few semantical differences here and there...

Unetaneh Tokef

Let us proclaim the sacredness of this day.
For it is awesome and full of dread.
Your kingship is exalted upon it.
Your throne is established in steadfast love.
You are enthroned upon it in truth.
In truth, You are judge and arbiter,
council and witness,
He who inscribes and seals,
Remembering all that is forgotten.
You open the book of our days
Which proclaims itself,
for it bears the signature of every human being.

The great shofar is sounded,
A still small voice is heard.
The angels gripped by fear and trembling,
proclaim in awe: This is the Day of Judgment!
For even the hosts of heaven are judged.
They shall not be guiltless in Your eyes
And all creatures shall walk before You.
As a shepherd herds his flock,
Causing his sheep to pass beneath his staff,
So do You cause to pass, count, and record,
Visiting the souls of all living,
Decreeing the length of their days,
Inscribing their judgment.

On Rosh Hashanah it is written,
On Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many shall pass away and how many shall come to be,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach old age and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by beast,
Who by famine and who by thirst,
Who by earthquake and who by plague,
Who by strangulation and who by stoning,
Who shall have respite and who shall be driven,
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be humbled,
Who shall be rich and who shall be impoverished.
But repentance, prayer and charity temper judgment's severe decree.

After this, there is another portion of the prayer praising God's majesty. But I can't find a translation of that bit that I'm even half-way satisfied with, so I'm not going to add it. All the really important, particularly unique bits are here above. The Unetaneh Tokef is only said on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and it's my favorite prayer that is only said on High Holy Days.

I really enjoy Jewish prayers, the feel of them as they come of my tongue and the sound of them as they are spoken by the who congregation or just the cantor. (I have half a mind to try to translate them into Latin... Oh, I'm a nut!) And once again, I must remind myself to buy my own copies of the Reform prayer books... I'm really kinda annoyed at myself that the only time of year I seem to remember that I want them is during the High Holy Days.

After thinking about it, it would probably be more appropriate to share the Kol Nidre, but I've been wanting to mention the Unetaneh Tokef since last week, so...

I would commentate more, but I really have to go get ready for Kol Nidre services now. Can't be late or they won't let us in...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No, but really...

First, watch this video on the Spanish-language Democratic debate from last week, if it's still available:


I still adore Kucinich... Jon couldn't come up with anything to do to him, so their tech department put a Carmine Miranda hat on his wife... That's awesome...

Bill, Barack and Hillary have all lost some of my respect. Richardson for pandering, Barack for pandering, neither any more than usual though, but still - disappointing... And Hillary for *really* pandering... Saying that she doesn't support the immigration reform bill that has been proposed because it "would have criminalized the Good Samaratan. It would have criminalized Jesus Christ." Uh... wtf? As Jon says, "imagine the world today if Jesus Christ had been found guilty of some sort of crime. I mean, if that had happened, man, they would have crucified that guy." Seriously...

Hillary, dear, can you hear yourself? Please tell me that's the problem and you just didn't hear what it was that you were saying? That you didn't pander that blatantly to an overwhelmingly Catholic demographic by invoking Jesus? Tell me that you didn't pander that blatantly to a portion of that demographic that has broken US laws - laws that you have sworn to uphold as a US Senator - to get into and stay in the United States, and not even in a time of extreme crisis - something my great-grandmother and her family didn't even do, though their need to escape Russia was dire, the threat of murder, rape and destruction of property with no legal recourse a daily reality that they lived with until they were able to come here in full compliance with US law. To allow anyone to flout our immigration laws dishonors everyone who has ever gone to the considerable trouble to immigrate to the United States legally. Every legal immigrant and naturalized citizen I have ever talked to about this, including ones from Mexico and Cuba, have been just as outraged as I am by people who have violated US immigration law with impunity. It has got to stop, Hillary. Illegal immigrants are not voting for you! Stop pandering to them!

Hillary has, very sadly, lost any respect I might have still had for her. I can tell you that much right now. ::shakes head::

Still, thumbs up for Kucinich.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I love Viggo...

Check it out...

Yes, that is really Viggo Mortensen! He rocks so hardcore... That is Narsil that he hands to Stephen and the other one is the one he used earlier on in the LOTRs movies... I can't tell you how amused I was to see this...

Monday, September 03, 2007

My haircut...

Laura finally sent me the pictures... I hate pictures of myself. They make me cringe. I always think they look horrible, and for this one, I can only say that it would have been better if I'd had more of a warning. I spun around and there Laura was with the camera. But I'm posting this one anyway 'cause I think I need to get over the cringing...

So that's me with my new haircut, my ponytail in my hand. You can see the back of my hair in the mirror, and the lady there in the mirror smiling is my stylist, Randi. The picture on the laptop computer screen there to the left is of Rachel Weisz.

Reading for "Theory"

In order to earn a BA degree in History from USF, one must take a particular exit requirement class called "Theory of History" or more commonly referred to simply as "Theory."

The reading for this week is very introductory, but interesting nonetheless, the first four chapters of History: A Very Short Introduction by John H. Arnold. In reading these chapters, I've begun to suspect two things.

* One, at best, I'm pretty sure I'm an antiquarian and not actually an historian because I like "mouldy and worme-eatern" things, but I don't like arguing so much about them because arguing gives me headaches and makes me sad...

* And two, I think the academic study of history is flawed in that it is so much a masculine study that it blinds itself to its own idiocy. (I realize that them is fightin' words, but I find all the academic bickering exhausting and more than somewhat overblown and unnecessary.) What do I mean by "masculine" study? Very simply that it is so overrun by the way a male brain works that it leaves no place for intuition and to what female thought would say, "well, duh!" For example, two of the competing notions from the Enlightenment of why history unfolds as it does: chance and Great Men (I realize that these concepts are now pretty passé, but I have something to say about it anyway, and it's my blog, so...)

The book details a hypothetical argument as to why chance was championed by some. But this example, that because some random person left home the day that Henry IV was assassinated stepping first with his right foot instead of his left caused Henry to die, is completely absurd. Anyone can see that it would be. I mean, really, hello.

The example given for the "Great Men" theory is a bit better, that Alexander the Great did all his great deeds because he was who he was. Well, I have a soft spot for Alexander. He's my boy, you see, so I will readily agree that he was all that and a bag of chips, but... Evenso, Great Men cannot become Great Men if the stage is not set just so... Consider if Alexander's mother were not as ambitious as she was, if his father were not as ambitious as he was, if his father were not as successful in his own campaigns, if Aristotle hadn't been his tutor, if a spear, sword or arrow had caught Alexander in an early battle, if Hephaestion had never existed... if Persia had not already been weakened by internal strife and corruption, well on its way to decay before Alexander was even born, if the southern cities of Greece had been able to resist the Macedonian army, if his father hadn't been held in Thebes as a youth, learning the military tactics necessary to develope his own army later in life... if a hundred thousand other things had gone "wrong," how different Alexander's life could have been, how different history would have turned out. Alexander could very easily have been just as his forebearers, a king of a barbarous collection of tribes on the fringes of Greece, or even, the dead son of Philip the Great, struck down young in an unfortuate battle over grazing lands. If the stage had not been set just so, Alexander never would have gone East, never would have expanded Greek control, etc. etc. and the entire world, at the very least, the entire Western world, would have turned out a much different place than we know it today.

This doesn't mean that I think everything is chance. I can honestly say that I've personally felt the hand of Fate more than once in my short life, so I know better than to say She doesn't exist. But I think, quite honestly, that trying to say everything is chance or everything is because "Great Men make it so through their own will" is oversimplifying reality in two different directions. A combination of the two works much better. Alexander had the ability, the talent and the will to go East into Persia and beyond, and Persia fell before him because it was primed to do so. With hindsight, I see it as everything having coallesced into an amazing sequence of events, not entirely chance, not entirely Alexander's will, but a stunning combination of the two so that the world could never be quite the same ever again.

It took generations for the chance vs. Great Men schools of thought to fall out of favor. That it took that long for something so obviously flawed to be questioned and replaced, makes me a bit sad.

And then, of course, I have to ask, why do we need to know the exact mechanism of why history unfolds as it does? It will continue to do so whether we know it or not, and when all is said and done, we can only come up with best guesses anyway. And who's to say that there is a mechanism at all to begin with that we can even look for and expect to find? So really, why ask that question... Aren't there way more questions out there that can be answered much more conceretely? I think questions like "what is the exact mechanism that directs the unfolding of history?" are very male questions to ask... in the same way I think philosophy is a very male preoccupation. It is my considered opinion at this time that men came up with philosophy and with chance vs. Great Men questions about history because they aren't busy enough, they don't have enough to do. Remember, it was people with a lot of free time on their hands who came up with philosophy and devoted their lives to academic study 1500 years ago, and that hasn't changed. It's still in societies where people generally don't have to worry about food, shelter or living to see the next year where this sort of thing is encouraged as being worthwhile - such as ours. Women in general, even most modern Western women who have a hell of a lot more time to idle than our ancestresses did, didn't and don't tend to ask such questions or come up with such egotistical, self-serving ideologies because we, as women, have shit to do (cause even in the US, the majority of women still have to work to take care of themselves, their kids and their home, but there are, of course, exceptions) and know better... I almost want to say that we're connected on a higher level that make such things moot and men are still wading through the mire trying to comprehend a tenth of what we do without a thought, but that's a theological/social debate that I don't feel like having... As I said -> shit to do. It's similar, I think, to why men of the past feared women and women's bodies, and in turn, by their dominance, made women fear themselves and their bodies as well. By our nature, as women, as female creatures, who menstruate, become pregnant, give birth, suckle, nurture, and feel everything, we're tied to the physical reality of existence (to the Earth, if you will) in ways that men, by their nature, can pretend to escape... in that escape, some have preoccupied themselves with the nonsense of philosophical ramblings and academic arguments... others, with NASCAR and the WWE. Both preoccupations have no *real* place in day-to-day living, but are transitory, fleeting and will soon change to something else. The fact that no one, men or women, can really escape our physical reality, frightened the male psyche at some point in the past to the point that any reminder of that was also feared and eventually seen as less worthy. Hence, the fear, subjugation and devaluation of female nature, and in this day, age and place - in 2007 in the United States - women who choose not to pursue a path outside of their home and away from their children are judged by society at large as less valuable than women who imitate the male model of attempted escape, even if imitating the male model makes them less happy with themselves and life in general. Likewise, certain occupations, such as farming, animal husbandry and traditional crafts are seen as less valuable, less prestigious by society at large than say being a stock broker, lawyer or politician.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this particular tangent, but I went nonetheless. And I have things to do, so I'm not going to think about it anymore just now, if ever... I still have hours of homework left to do. ::sighs:: So this is all theory and one I've come up with quite on the fly as I was reading this book, so if you yell at me about it, I might not respond well. It wouldn't surprise me if it's largely bullshit, but I don't like being yelled at.

Basically, from where I'm sitting right now, I'm about to get a degree in history and I'm not exactly sure I'm ever going to do a damn thing with it. I think I've become rather disenchanted. I'm already really tired of the way historians write about history, argue about history, and twist it to suit their own egos and purposes, and I'm really pretty sure that I don't want any part of that mess. It takes all the fun out of it for me and then what's the point? So as if this place weren't scary enough, graduating from college, I've got the uncertainty that I even want to go on academically in this field of study I've spent the last 4 years working on. ::grumble:: So I know I'll figure something out, but I'm really just so put off by it all at the moment that I'm frustrated and want to bitch. So I did... So that's what this all was, I think, me bitching in frustration...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Natural Dyes with Lion Brand

There's an article at Lion Brand's website about dyeing with natural material... They have several recipes and pictures of dyed yarn... It's giving me ideas...

See here...