Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker FloraFlora: "What are you learning about right now?"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Pulp: "Dogs Are Everywhere"

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[Content Note: Illness.]

Statement by Secretary Johnson on Travel Restrictions and Protective Measures to Prevent the Spread of Ebola to the United States:

Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security's ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries. These new measures will go into effect tomorrow.

Last week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHS implemented enhanced screening measures at five airports around the country – New York's JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago. Passengers flying into one of these airports from flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States. These airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the United States from these countries. At present there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to any airport in the United States.

Today, I am announcing that all passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.

We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days.

Yesterday I had a conference call with our CBP officers at the five enhanced screening airports. I was impressed by their professionalism, and their training and preparation for the enhanced screening. I reminded our CBP officers to be vigilant in their efforts, and encouraged them to set a calm example for an American public nervous about Ebola. I thanked these men and women for their service.

We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly.
TL;DR: All passengers on flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will be required to land at one of five airports in the US: New York's JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta, and Chicago. (Presumably that's Chicago's O'Hare, not Midway.) These airports now have "enhanced screening and additional resources" in place.

What will happen to passengers who have a high temperature or are determined to have whatever else is now considered a risk via assessment by undefined "secondary screening" is not known.

Sounds perfect.

(That was sarcasm.)

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Class warfare; worker exploitation.]

"I gotta tell you the truth, I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don't think there's a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, 'You know honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my god, all our dreams would be realized. Is that what parents aspire to for their children?"—Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, "during an event at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, according to a recording of his remarks by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge."


[Related Reading: $10.10.]

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People Are Assholes

[Content Note: Body policing; disablism; culture of judgment.]

Going around the internetz today are pictures of actress Renée Zellweger at last night's 2014 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards. I'm not going to link to any of the articles featuring the images; they're easy enough to find if you really want to see them. Simply, Zellweger looks different; her face no longer looks like it did earlier in her career—a face once described by Jim Carrey's character in her film Me, Myself & Irene as "Your squinty eyes and your face all pursed up like you just sucked a lemon."

In the back of the lint trap, I recall having read or seen something about Zellweger years ago that suggested she had trichiasis, eyelashes growing inward back toward the eye, and might need surgery to correct it. I can't find the source now, so it's just one of those things stuck in the back of my brain. I don't know if it's true; I don't know if it was the reason for her alleged recent eye surgery; I don't know if it was a reason offered, once upon a time, for a potential eye surgery to avoid charges of vanity.

But it seems like a possibility worth mentioning. Because I can pull up stories of other actors and actresses whose faces have changed for health reasons, like the amazing Kathleen Turner, who famously weathered nasty commentary about her weight gain and rumors about drug addiction and alcoholism for years before disclosing that she had rheumatoid arthritis, the steroids prescribed for which caused changes in her appearance. And I don't think that famous people owe us disclosure of health issues, no matter how major or minor they may seem to us.

Famous people also don't owe us an explanation as to why they decide to have cosmetic surgery.

I don't care why Renée Zellweger got surgery on her eyes, provided she did, except insomuch as I hope that she didn't feel obliged to do it because of the gross culture of judgment that has scrutinized and discussed and criticized her appearance for the entirety of her career.

(And no doubt before she was famous, too, on a more intimate scale.)

Predictably, the comments on these articles are the grossest of the gross. Zellweger is unrecognizable. She is hideous. She is vain. Et cetera. I don't need to recount them, because we know the entire song and all its cruel verses and vile refrain by heart.

So, for a moment, let us imagine that Renée Zellweger's primary reason for supposedly getting cosmetic surgery was because of decades of ridicule and venom about the shape of her eyes.

I did this for you, and now you mock me for doing it.

That is a cycle of abuse, being played out in public as a fun game for the abusers.

One might be inclined to argue: That's why celebrities shouldn't change their features, because people will never be happy, will never stop judging them.

But you know my position on that sort of argument: As long as unrealistic expectations of women exist, we shouldn't be punishing the women who try to meet them.

Or tasking them with finding individual solutions to this pervasive, aggressive, overwhelming systemic problem.

Perhaps Zellweger just felt obliged to have cosmetic surgery, if she did, to stay relevant in a career that is profoundly hostile to older women. As a response to unfathomably unfair expectations to defy time and the reality of human existence, a woman who makes the decision to get cosmetic surgery or fillers is making a valid and entirely understandable choice.

Especially when the alternative is: No more career for you bye-bye.

Of course the women who have cosmetic procedures to try to attain the Impossible Beauty Standards demanded by their horrible industry are then punished for doing it, if there is any evidence at all they've done it.

None of this is fair. It's not fair to judge Zellweger if she got cosmetic surgery for health reasons, for reasons of pleasing fans, for reasons of employment, for some combination thereof, for some other reason(s) altogether.

Renée Zellweger looks different now. The only reaction any of us need to have to that is: "Oh. Okay."

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt, sitting on the loveseat near the window, with her head resting on the cushion, looking at me with a soulful face
Zelda. ♥

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. I have told the story of how Iain and I walked into the local humane society and fell in love with a little black-and-tan mutt who didn't even have a name many times, and I have advocated for shelter rescue and for big black dogs on Zelly's behalf, and I am going to keep doing that no matter what month it is, lol, but I want to invite everyone who's rescued a shelter dog (or cat! or rabbit! or whatever! let's flaunt convention!) to share their stories of rescue in this thread today.

(As always, pictures are more than welcome.)

There are still an awful lot of negative messages and misconceptions about shelter dogs, and one of the ways we can help, according to the ASPCA, is to tell our stories about our beloved dogs who came from shelters.

One of the biggest reasons people cite for not adopting from shelters is that they believe the dogs are broken, flawed, have too many problems. As if being imperfect is incompatible with being a great companion.

image of Dudley and Zelda standing at the back door
Two Imperfect Pups who are THE BEST.

Forget perfection. (In fact, if you're looking for perfection, maybe a pet of any sort isn't a good idea for you.) Find love instead.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

At ProPublica, Theodoric Meyer compiles "The Best Investigative Reporting on Campaign Finance Since 2012," and solicits suggestions for other pieces you'd recommend to add to the list.

[Content Note: Illness; alarmism] Ebola debuts on Gallup's poll of "Americans' List of Top U.S. Problems." Terrific.

[CN: Illness; bigotry] Meanwhile, part of the reason people are freaking the fuck out is because they don't know a damn thing about Africa. I guess I shouldn't be, but I've been really shocked by how many people I've seen (including people who should definitely know better) who are surprised to find out both how large and how diverse the continent of Africa is.

[CN: Misogynist terrorism] Laura Hudson on GamerGate: "Although Gamergate has inspired countless think pieces and editorials about the 'end' of gamers, some of the ugliest and most persistent backlash has been reserved for Leigh Alexander, a female games journalist who wrote an essay titled 'Gamers' Don't Have to be Your Audience. 'Gamers' are Over... The vicious response to Alexander's article was rooted not in objective concerns, but in the deep, persistent fear that she was right: that they weren't the be-all and end-all of videogames anymore, that they might not always get to define what it means."

[CN: Disenfranchisement; racism; classism. Please note there are moving GIFs at the link.] Imani Gandy has your GIF-splanation of "What's Up with All These Voting Restrictions." This is a really terrific resource, with history and state-by-state breakdowns of voting laws.

[CN: Homophobia] This Republican bigot is really insistent on dehumanizing people in same-sex relationships and claiming they're going to "destroy our way of life." Dude, if your "way of life" includes vicious, dehumanizing, vile homophobia, then your way of life deserves to be destroyed.

"One of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures in the UK is repairing stretched earlobes," because people with stretched lobes from large ear gauges are having trouble finding work. I've seen this article linked lots of places, and everyone is sort of laughing about how stupid people are who stretch their ears. But, I dunno, here's a radical idea: Maybe employers could simply ignore a fashion trend that literally has nothing to do with someone's ability to do their job. I know, I know—the customers! Well, I'm sure there were plenty of dudes who didn't like ladies wearing trousers once upon a time, too, and somehow we all managed to survive.

RIP Oscar De La Renta. The Guardian has a gallery of some of his work.

And finally! Here is a terrific video of a cat being fully cat.

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Real Jobs

[Content Note: Class warfare; injury; death; abuse.]

I just dropped this into comments, regarding the very common use of "low-skill work" to refer to fast food jobs, but I wanted to repost it on the main page and add some further thoughts:

I think a better term would be "low-valued skill work."

Because any job where there is a real possibility of injury (and dealing with hot cooking equipment and oil contains a real possibility of injury) actually takes some skill.

And any job that necessitates dealing with the public, and successfully navigating the abuse that unhappy people heap upon people in service positions, actually takes a lot of skill.

This isn't low-skill work. Not really. It's low-valued skill work.
Out of curiosity, I looked up what the numbers on workplace injuries for fast food workers are: "Collecting data from a sample of hospitals across the country over a two-year period, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimated that emergency rooms treated about 44,800 injuries suffered by teenage restaurant workers. Of those injuries, an estimated 28,000—a whopping 63 percent—took place in hamburger, pizza, or other fast-food establishments."
The NIOSH study also determined that nearly half of the injuries involved hot grease and that more than half of the injuries from falls were caused by wet or greasy floors. Researchers further found that the type of injury varied according to gender. Of teens working in fast-food restaurants, male workers were more likely to have burns, lacerations, and other injuries related to cooking, while female workers were more likely to suffer sprains, strains, and contusions associated with cashiering and clearing tables.

Researchers have also found that teens working in fast-food restaurants are six times more likely to be burned than teens working in any other industry. According to the Burn Foundation, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, teens working as fry cooks in fast-food restaurants are at special risk for burn injuries.

...Fast-food employees also need to be aware of the ever-present potential for robberies or random violence in their establishments. Five employees of a Wendy's in Queens, New York, for example, were shot to death in early 2000.
Although that data focuses on teenage workers, fast food workers are increasingly not teenagers: "The Center for Economic and Policy Research report finds that people aged 25-54 hold the largest share of fast-food worker jobs in the U.S. Eleven percent of workers earning $7.25 an hour or less are older than 20, as are 68 percent of workers earning between $7.26 and $10.09. This means that minimum wage workers are not simply teenagers looking for some pocket money while living at home with their parents; most fast food workers are trying to make a life for themselves and their families on the pittance that they earn."

The CEPR report also found that 36.4% of fast food workers over the age of 20 are parents.

The stereotype of the fast food worker who is a teenager with a part-time job for extra walking-around money is not accurate. Nor is the idea that these jobs are "low-skill" and "low-risk."

And, returning to my point about acknowledging harm other than physical harm, the workers at fast food restaurants are subject to all manner of abuse by customers and exploitation by corporate management; further, their jobs are constantly demeaned as "not real" jobs, thus suggesting their work itself is not "real."

Which is only one piece of the demeaning language we use around fast food labor, in order that we might denigrate the industry and uphold the narrative that it's just a bunch of throwaway work filled by throwaway workers.

We talk about how the food itself isn't "real." (It's real enough to someone who's hungry.) We talk about how it's gross, toxic, a symbol of everything wrong with the country or culture. (And we do it firmly outside the context of talking about government subsidies that make a Big Mac cheaper than a salad.) We talk about how the workers are people who can't do anything else. (Don't you dare have pride in your not-real work at your not-real job.)

These are real jobs with real risks and require real skills of the real people who fill them.

And it's not just shitlord Republican candidates who refuse to call them real jobs who are the problem. It's all of us who engage in any rhetoric that treats fast food work like garbage.

That rhetoric creates a context which abets advocates for the continued exploitation of fast food workers so the corporations which employ them can maximize profits.

Think of that: No one benefits more from fast food work being treated like garbage than fast food corporations and shareholders. That is a fucked-up industry. Their enormous wealth depends on our treating like shit the people who generate it for them.

I refuse to participate in that.

Real jobs. Real risks. Real skills. Real people.

* * *

[Although I'm talking about the fast food industry here, the same applies to essentially any other job/industry that is routinely described as "low-skill." Retail, for example. Home healthcare, as another. Please consider all of these fields on-topic for discussion.]

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Positive Momentum for Trans* US Troops

[Content Note: Transphobia.]

Following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's statement in May that he's willing to review the US military's policy on out transgender servicemembers, and three retired US generals speaking out in August on behalf of letting out transgender servicemembers serve, the American Civil Liberties Union invited officers from Britain, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia, whose militaries allow service of out transgender people, to discuss how their policies work in practice.

Major Donna Harding, a nurse in the Royal Australian Army who transitioned from male to female, said that allowing and supporting such practices was vital to improving the mental health and effectiveness of transgender troops.

"Being able to be open and authentic is the key to being able to perform your job, so you are not having the stress of having to hide," she said.

The argument was echoed by Squadron Leader Sarah Maskell, who promotes equality and diversity at the Royal Air Force in Britain: "Without doubt, the more mature our inclusive policies become, the better our operational delivery becomes because we have got people who are being themselves, they are being authentic in the workplace without having to have personal challenges alongside that."

She also argued that many of the practical questions that come up, such as where people who are transitioning should shower, were easily dealt with.

"I chuckle when the shower question comes up because it's something that comes up whenever we talk about transgender personnel: it's always about showers," said Maskell.

"I'm obviously missing something … we respect privacy, so we have joined showers but they have cubicles. So somebody who has a religious observance to protect their modesty uses that shower as well. For us it's not an issue. It doesn't affect combat readiness whether there is a shower screen, it's just about normalising diversity and respect for others."

Some of the transgender troops who spoke at the event said important issues remained in overseas military forces too.

"There is still a lot more to be done," said Corporal Natalie Murray, who became the eighth member of the Canadian forces to transition in 2003, pointing to recent privacy violations in Canada.
It's always about showers!

I really love (and am grateful) that these women and men were willing to offer their time and insight, in the hope of moving the US military more quickly toward out trans* inclusion.

And the good news is: "Unlike the battle to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' laws outlawing openly gay people serving in the military, a move to allow transgender troops may only require administrative action by the Pentagon rather than new legislation in Congress."

That would be pretty awesome. Let's make it happen, Hagel!

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Pistorius Gets Five Years; Expected to Serve Ten Months

[Content Note: Guns; death; disablism.]

Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic athlete who fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp, who was dating him at the time he killed her, has been given five years in jail after having been convicted of culpable homicide:

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
His girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Still, that's all she is. He has been found guilty of taking her life, and still he is given ownership of her.
Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge [for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant, in a separate incident before Pistorius killed Steenkamp].

...Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his client was expected to serve 10 months in prison, with the rest under house arrest.
Which is still better than the house arrest and community service with no jail time for which the defense had argued.
Judge Masipa said she considered her sentence "fair and just, both to society and to the accused".

She said: "A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy."

...[Defence witness and social worker Annette Vergeer] had argued Pistorius would be "a lot more vulnerable than the normal man" in jail.

But Judge Masipa said she was sure prisons were equipped to cater for the requirements of a special needs inmate.

She also said she had a "feeling of unease" at what she called an overemphasis on the athlete's vulnerability.

However, she said Pistorius had made an "enormous contribution to society", in his charity work and in changing the public perception of disability.
Absolutely true. Oscar Pistorius has indeed made enormous contributions in his charitable work in being a visible representative of people with disabilities. SO FUCKING WHAT. That has—should have—no bearing on his sentencing for killing Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa also said, "It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and another for the rich and famous." But how does arguing that Pistorius' "enormous contributions to society" should mitigate his sentence not create the impression that there's a double standard?

His disability doesn't erase all his other privilege, which favored his opportunities to become a visible, enabled, wealthy person who could make those contributions to society. To ignore that does not feel like justice. It feels like the usual spin about how Good Men's lives shouldn't be "ruined" over a "mistake"—arguments that are reserved almost exclusively for them. Especially for Good Men who are also Famous Athletes, and just made the "mistake" of hurting women.

I'm hard-pressed to understand why I should feel mercy for someone who killed a woman in a totally avoidable circumstance, at best. I'm hard-pressed to understand why I should worry about his life being ruined.

Considering Reeva Steenkamp's life is over.

Steenkamp's family says they are content with verdict and just relieved it's finished. I'm glad it has given them some measure of peace.

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Open Thread

image of a hairless dog with perked ears and a curled tail standing outdoors

Hosted by the Xoloitzcuintli. AKA the Mexican Hairless Dog.

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Question of the Day

What product, service, lifehack, or idea did you think you invented, only to find out it already exists or that people have already been doing it for years?

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by purple eyeshadow.

Recommended Reading:

Scott: [Content Note: Racism; white privilege] Whites Riot over Pumpkins in NH and Twitter Turns It into Epic Lesson about Ferguson

Melissa: [CN: Racism; colorism] Let's Talk about Race in Latin@ Communities

Sarah: [CN: Fat hatred; disordered eating; disablism; misogyny] Apple's Health App: Where's the Power?

Prison Culture: [CN: Domestic violence; misogynoir] Walking in Lawndale for Marissa and Other DV Survivors

Kate: [CN: Descriptions of video game violence] Playing Tomb Raider with Grandma

Charlie Jane: 6 Types of Movies We Never Want to See Again

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

"I want every one of our neighbors to have a job again, a well-paid job, so we don't have to argue about minimum wage for someone working at Burger King. Let's get them a real job."Brad Schimel, Republican candidate for Attorney General in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Or, here's an idea: Let's make fast-food service jobs "real" jobs.

By which I mean: Pay the people who do that work, which is as "real" work as any other work, a livable wage with benefits; allow them to unionize; disallow their employers from letting them work too few hours to qualify for full-time pay and benefits; disallow their employers from shuffling them between franchises so they never work full-time at any one location; respect the work that is done by human beings at these establishments.

There's no reason that someone who works at a fast food restaurant shouldn't be able to make a living doing it. There's no reason that someone shouldn't want to keep working at a fast food job, if they enjoy it aside from the abysmal exploitation.

And there's no reason we should ignore that the people making these arguments about fast food employees are talking about an industry disproportionately staffed by young women of color, many of whom are young mothers who are the sole providers for young children.

I challenge every bootstraps bellowing jackass who tells people who work in fast food to get a real job to instead use their energies and influence to turn fast food jobs into real jobs.


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The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of the entire Grimes Gang walking through the woods with grim faces, accompanied by their new pal Gabriel, who is giving Grimes a quizzical look
"Do you guys wanna sing '99 Bottles of Beer' while we're walking? Guys?"

This episode opens with lots of people not talking about things and a montage of slow-motion walking. So, basically: We're back to the typical Walking Dead season!

My favorite of all the awkward conversations is the one between Grimes and Carol. "I sent you away to this," he says, referring to his imposed exile of her from the prison, which would have been a death sentence for anyone but Carol, who is the Queen of Wrecking Your Shit. "And now we're joining you," he says. "Will you have us?"

Carol nods, silent and stoic. But what Carol should have said is: "Yes, asshole, I will have you under one condition: That you are no longer the TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE LEADER of this ragtag group of dipshits, and that, since you're acknowledging that I'm the kickassiest of all kickass survivors in this moment, you let me have a chance to be President of Decision-Making and sit your sweaty ass down for two fucking minutes JESUS CHRIST."

Because, of course, despite acknowledging that Carol is a hardcore survivalist machine, Grimes continues to maintain his role as TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE LEADER, and, when Sgt. Red Bull makes noise about going to Washington, everyone's immediate, reflexive response is to tell him ONLY IF GRIMES SAYS SO.

Great plan, everyone. Keep doing what Professor March Us to Cannibaltown says, and don't even bother consulting with Queen Carol of Wrecking Your Shit, who is the only person who knows what the fuck is what, with the possible exception of Daryl.

In other news, Sasha and Bob are soooooooo cute—kiss kiss kiss nuzzle nuzzle nuzzle—and Sasha loves Bob soooooooo much because he is so good at speaking in nothing but inane aphorisms playing the Lemons out of Lemonade game, so we all know that Bob is in real fucking trouble.

Marching through the woods, because that's what happens on this show, Grimes Gang hears someone yelling for help. Grimes is hesitant, but Carl the Hat insists they go help whomever is shouting, and Grimes is all, "Well, it sounds like a dude, so I GUESS."

Run run run. Kill kill kill. It turns out the dude they were saving is a black minister who is named Gabriel BECAUSE OF COURSE HE IS. They are Deeply Suspicious of Gabriel, who claims he has killed no people and no zombies, which almost surely means that he has ensured his survival by delivering humans to other horrendo nightmare humans. JUST A GUESS. Made by anyone who has watched this show for three seconds.

They all take refuge at Gabriel's church, where he's run out of food. It is decided that Grimes, Michonne, Sasha, and Bob will go on a supply run to the local food pantry, which has been overrun by zombies. (WHUT. The local gun store is completely stripped, but there's still food in the food pantry? OKAY, THIS SHOW.) Grimes tells Gabriel he's coming with them. He shakes in his collar.

Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl go looking for a car. (?)

At the food pantry: Zombies zombies zombies. Fight fight fight. Gabriel shits his pants one million times. Sasha has to save Bob from a zombie. PHEW THAT WAS CLOSE! Gee, I hope nothing happens to Bob later in the episode!

Back at the church, Carl the Hat shows Grimes scratches on the outside where someone tried to get in, and words etched into the side of the building which read: "You'll burn for this." Huh. That might be creepy if I hadn't immediately guessed Gabriel's survival strategy with the precision of Michonne's katana.

(RIP Michonne's katana.) (Ha ha just kidding she'll definitely get it back.) (Wait, but how?! They stole it at Terminus and those guys are dead!) (Or ARE they?) (Gee, I hope nothing happens to Bob later in the episode!)

The Grimes Gang + Shady Gabe have a big feast that night, with the cans pulled from the zombie stew in the food pantry's basement. (Yum!) Sgt. Red Bull makes a toast, then immediately segues like the worst party guest into a harangue about how they have to get to DC.

Doctor Mulletsworth backs him up by offering that DC has an infrastructure that can withstand major pandemics, and they can live like ROYALS—Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece, jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash—once they get there.

No one asks the obvious question: "Uh, what if people are already inhabiting those spaces and we go all the way there for no goddamned reason?" Instead, everyone is silent, until Baby Zombie Whistle Grimes adorably gurgles, and Grimes announces, "If she's in, I'm in!"

Yay! Everyone's in! And although Grimes will not let Carol make decisions, he will definitely let his infant make decisions. Which is a still a step up from him, so. Progress!

Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl are still wandering around and fucking with some dead-ass car they're reviving, when they're passed by a car that Daryl identifies as the one in which Beth was abducted. (Oh yeah. Her.) He busts out the lights, so they won't be seen, and they jump in the car to follow the creepmobile.

Back at the church, Bob is standing guard outside and crying, when someone sneaks up and knocks him unconscious. (Go buddy system.) He later wakes up surrounded by the Terminus Heads, who somehow survived the zombie onslaught at their cool camp, and are literally eating his leg, which has been removed and is roasting on the fire.

Good grief this show.

Next week: More walking!

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Finish This Sentence

My most hilarious embarrassing moment was...

...the time I was spending the night at a friend's house, and, while she was in the shower, I was puttering around in her bedroom, and found a brightly-colored (like the most putrid neon; hello, it was the '90s!) plastic water-gun. I put on my best Emma Peel and waited for her to come back to her room.

As soon as her bedroom door cracked open, I pointed the garish toy pistol and yelled: "Freeze, dirtbag!"

Her father—who was actually the person coming into the room—startled, looked at me with a mixture of confusion, terror, and exasperation, tossed the blanket he was holding onto the floor, and scurried away.


Have fun! Keep it lighthearted. *wink!*

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat asleep on the cat condo beside my desk
Sleepy Cat is sleepy.

I love this picture of Olivia, because it shows off the remarkable thickness of her gorgeous ringed tail. I love her tail to itty bitty bits, along with the rest of her, but I have to admit its extraordinary stature combined with her propensity for flicking it almost constantly (when she's awake) does turn her into a one-cat wrecking machine, lol.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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TV Corner: How to Get Away With Murder

[Content Note: Homophobia. Spoilers for the ABC television series How to Get Away With Murder.]

image of actress Viola Davis, a thin, black, middle-aged woman, wearing a burgundy moto jacket and standing in front of a chalkboard on which is written in chalk the name of the show

Can we talk about this show? Because OMFG this show.

I was hooked right from the first episode, mostly because Shonda Rhimes. By which I don't just mean her concept and writing, which are typically terrific, but also because the diversity of casting which is a signature of her shows, as well as the fact that the first episode of this primetime network series contained not only a scene of a woman getting head but a scene of gay men having sex. Yes, please!

Personally, I haven't felt in dire need of more sex in my TV viewing. It's just that, if there's going to be sex in my TV viewing, I'd like to see evidence of showrunners and/or producers who are aware that types of sex exist other than a dude and a lady having PIV sex (often with dubious consent). And I don't think it's coincidence that I see that mostly in shows with female showrunners and/or producers (see also: The Good Wife and Nurse Jackie, as but two examples).

ANYWAY! I'm into this show. And not just for reflecting a world that looks vaguely more like the one I inhabit. That is, with people other than thin straight white cis men and women. I also like the mysteries, and how the two ongoing mysteries intertwine with single-episode cases, too. It's a good combination of a serial drama and episodic drama, which holds my interest and makes the show eminently watchable.

I didn't, however, love the show until last week's episode. The final sequence, in which Viola Davis' character strips off her armor, her lawyer veneer, taking off her jewelry, her make-up, her wig, to ask her husband as his wife at her most vulnerable, why his penis is on a dead girl's phone, was extraordinary. Holy shit. The symbolism of that scene. Amaaaaaaazing.

I immediately texted Deeks about it, who replied: "RIGHT?!?!? OMFG. GIVE HER THE FUCKING EMMY RIGHT NOW!"

Liss: She is so fucking great!!!! I love herrrrrrrrrrr.

Deeks: That transformation.

Liss: It was one of the best things I've ever seen on TV, that transformation. I can't even deal with how great it was.

Deeks: Amazing.

This morning, Deeky tweeted at me this exchange Shonda Rhimes had with a viewer who complained about "the gay scenes" in the same episode. (Referring to another scene of two men having sex.) Rhimes' responses were priceless, culminating in: "If u use the phrase 'gay scenes', u are not only LATE to the party but also NOT INVITED to the party. Bye Felicia."

I said to Deeks: If you watched that episode and got pissed about seeing two men having sex instead of marveling at the final sequence, YOU FAIL AT LIFE.

How to Get away with Murder might not be for everyone, because it does contain images of violence. But it's a show for everyone who wants to come to the party, if you know what I mean.

So: Are you watching it? Tell me everything!

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Shirley Bassey: "This Is My Life"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism; violence; police brutality; dehumanization; othering; privilege] If you read one thing today, make it this: "An American Horror Story—Open Letter from Ferguson Protestors and Allies."

[CN: Guns; disablism] When no-gun lists for people with mental illness were first proposed, some of us predicted they would be wildly abused, and, naturally, we were called alarmists and hysterics and the usual bullshit. Welp: "Mental Health Issues Put 34,500 on New York's No-Guns List." I guess I don't need to point out the relationship between aggressive male entitlement and the patriarchal disincentives against admitting to and seeking help for mental health issues, nor the fact that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence. So, basically, what we have here is a registry of victims. Swell.

[CN: Murder; misogyny] The bodies of seven women have been found in Northwest Indiana, very near where I live. A man whose name has not yet been released, and who is a convicted sex offender who moved to Indiana from Texas about a decade ago, confessed to killing at least one victim after her body was found in a motel. There is more on the investigation here. The two identified victims are black women, and I suspect more (or all) of the other victims are black women, too. There has been virtually no local news coverage of these missing women, who now appear to be victims of a serial killer. I am so sad for their families and friends. And I am so angry how little attention their disappearances have been given, until now.

[CN: Illness] Maybe everyone can settle down now? (Probably not!) "Dozens of potentially at-risk Texans cleared as state continues Ebola monitoring."

[CN: Classism; food insecurity; bootstraps] My governor is a cruel nightmare: "Indiana will cut tens of thousands of its poorest people off of the food stamps roles beginning next spring, the state announced. Gov. Mike Pence (R) has decided to join seven other states in reinstating work requirements for food stamps despite being eligible for a federal waiver from those rules for the coming fiscal year." FUCK THIS BOOTSTRAPS BULLSHIT.

[CN: Misogyny; terrorism; abduction] Boko Haram has said it will release today the nearly 300 young women they abducted nearly six months ago. Let us hope they do, and let us hope that the young women, who have suffered unfathomable trauma, will get the help they need to begin recovery.

[CN: War; terrorism; betrayal] If you can view video, John Oliver's segment last night on translators who have worked with the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, but whose relocation to safety is being delayed or denied by US bureaucracy, is a must-watch.

[CN: Harassment; abuse] Britain is proposing a law that would jail people found guilty of online "trolling" for up to two years. I have mixed feelings about increased carcerality being considered a solution to any problem, but, given that's all we've got at the moment, I feel glad that it's being taken seriously. Opponents are free speech blah-blahing, of course: "Some lawyers and freedom of speech campaigners have warned that criminal sanctions should be the last resort. 'Do we want to criminalise every social conduct that we find problematic?' Barbora Bukovska, a senior director at campaign group ARTICLE 19, said earlier this month." Isn't it funny how free speech is so important when it comes to speech that literally terrorizes mostly women and marginalized men. And isn't it funny how "objectionable" is a word used to describe things that harm people, as long as those people are mostly women and marginalized men.

Meanwhile: "It's just an opinion, right? But if you post it online, you could get some unwanted attention from lawyers. A growing number of companies are going after people who post negative reviews online. Ottawa student Olivia Parsons learned that the hard way. After moving out of her apartment in June, she posted several less-than-flattering online reviews on Google, Yelp and Pissed Consumer. The reviews took aim at CLV Group—the company that manages the building. ...About a week later, Parsons got a surprise in the mail—a letter from CLV Group's lawyer demanding Parsons immediately stop posting negative reviews and that she delete the ones already up. The letter described her reviews as 'false' and 'misleading' and damaging to the company's reputation. That letter came as a surprise for another reason. Parsons used an online pseudonym. Yet the company was still able to track down her real name and even her new address. She has no idea how they managed to do that. 'My heart just dropped. I couldn't believe that they had found me.'" Corporate personhood is terrific! Female personhood, not so much.

This is the worst thing that has ever been invented.

If you hate and/or fear spiders, then this story is definitely not for you. But if you like spiders, or enjoy getting freaked out by spiders, then take a look at these Goliath Birdeaters, which can grow "as big as a child's forearm" and weigh "as much as a puppy." They are truly incredible.

And finally! Kids today: A bunch of eighth-graders rescued a dog trapped in mud. "The children pointed out that there were many other people–adults–in the park who were walking around or standing within distance of the distressed pets, but not one single adult did anything to rescue the dogs." Get ON my lawn, kids!

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