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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And More

[Content Note: Misogyny; transphobia.]

After I posted my previous piece, Tom Watson tweeted me about the cover of this month's Harper's, which features an image of Hillary Clinton whispering in Bill Clinton's ear, with the all-caps headline: "STOP HILLARY!"

image of cover as described above

The editor's note introducing the issue, penned by Ellen Rosenbush, opens thus: "In the glory days of Bill Clinton's presidency, I thought Hillary was a beacon of hope for women everywhere. Now she seems like Bill in women's clothing."

Oh for fuck's sake.

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[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Because I am the brokenest of all broken records, I have been pointing out over and over the reprehensible cycle that accompanies Hillary Clinton's possible candidacy, which we've seen before during her Senate candidacy and her presidential candidacy in 2008. First, it's that Hillary must run for the good of the Democrats; then it's that Hillary is definitely running, long before she announces; then it's that Hillary is such an uppity bitch for thinking she's inevitable; then it's that Hillary's entitlement is giving possible male candidates the sads; then it's that Hillary needs to take her boobs and go home. And that's when the real misogyny starts.

I have been documenting this exact pattern surrounding Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential campaign for months.

This weekend, I snapped this pic of a segment teaser on the crawl for ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the host of which, you may recall, knows Hillary Clinton personally and well, as he was a key White House adviser and strategist during Bill Clinton's administration:

image of my TV screen with a crawl reading: 'COMING UP: 2016: Can Hillary Be Stopped?'
Hopefully Obama will appoint a Hillary Czar.

Again, I will note that one doesn't have to like Hillary Clinton, as a candidate or even as a person, to be concerned and angry about a female candidate being discussed like she is a monster or a natural disaster.

It is, of course, eminently possible to have the same discussion without this framing. "Is Hillary Clinton the strongest candidate?" "Is Hillary Clinton destined to win?" "Can anyone thwart Hillary Clinton's chances?" Et cetera.

Naturally, the discussion is not without its inherent problems, in that it presumes she's running. But, setting that aside, there are ways to discuss Hillary Clinton's alleged "inevitability" without asking if she can "be stopped," like she is an unnatural force, inhuman, a thing that needs to be stopped.

There are even plenty of ways to discuss the fact that maybe a Hillary Clinton presidency isn't a great idea—too hawkish; too corporate-comfy—without saying that she must be stopped, as opposed to her potential candidacy.

As ever, there are people who argue that this is just the language of politics, that it has nothing to do with her womanhood, that This Week and the rest of the media use the same language around male candidates.

Setting aside the fact that it's debatable whether this language and its entire context is used around male candidates, the reality is that it doesn't matter even if that's true, because male candidates and female candidates are not the same.

There are words and ideas and tropes and narratives that, when used in discussions of male candidates, do not have the capacity to demean in the way they do when used in discussions of female candidates.

If anyone has a problem with that, they need to take it up with the purveyors of misogyny, who endeavor to make that so.

I certainly can't speak for all women, but, personally, I'd happily trade meaningful equality for what misogynists call my Playing the Gender Card and what I call being exhaustingly obliged to constantly deconstruct this marginalizing, harmful, rage-making misogynist garbage.

And I don't defend Hillary Clinton because I imagine she gives the tiniest, infinitesimal little shit about stuff like this anymore. She couldn't function if she did. I defend her because that's how feminism works.

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This Is Where We Are

[Content Note: Illness; exploitation.]

image of tweet authored by me reading: 'The USA: Where Ebola alarmism will justify emergency 'national security' measures but not emergency implementation of universal healthcare.'

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Open Thread

image of the Greek letter xi

Hosted by xi.

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Open Thread

image of Doc Martens brand pink, yellow, and orange wing-tipped shoes

Hosted by wing-tipped shoes.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by the letter W.

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Open Thread

image of six Westies, small white shaggy dogs, in a basket

Hosted by Westies. AKA the West Highland White Terrier.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Arms'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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image of the band Queen to which I have added text reading: 'Something of which you need to be aware is that Queen will: 1. Rock you. 2. Rock you. (Sing it!) 3. Rock you. 4. Rock you.'

[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles; The Proclaimers; Bruce Springsteen; Meat Loaf; Cyndi Lauper; Cole Porter; Tina Turner; The Jets; Starland Vocal Band; Kenny Loggins; Gloria Estefan; Martha Reeves & The Vandellas; Rebecca Black. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by chili.

Recommended Reading:

Jamilah: [Content Note: Illness; racism] The Underlying Racism of Ebola Coverage

stavvers: [CN: Abuse; self-blame] Easy Targets

Darnell: [CN: Racism; police brutality; hetero/cis/male centrism] Black Freedom Fighters in Ferguson: Some of Us Are Queer

Angry Asian Man: Vanita Gupta to Lead Justice Department's Civil Rights Division

Latoya: [CN: Racism] Blackface by Another Name? "Painting Down" on Gotham

Fannie: [CN: Misogynist terrorism; anti-feminism] Now Will Sommers Listen

Veronica: Space Camp: Post-landing Thoughts about Day One

Mia: [CN: Homophobia; racism] LGBTQ Hyphen: The Visibility Project Tour

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat standing on me and kneading my boob
Sophs is very intent on me sitting right here while she kneads me.

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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