April 16, 2014

Equal pay?

Um. What?
"[W]omen typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don't have the same preference for a higher-earning mate."
"Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate."

Those sentences were uttered, not 40 years ago, but JUST THIS WEEK by the infamous Phyllis Schlafly! That's right ladies: you don't want to make as much money as a man for the same job because then you won't be able to fulfill your life's goal of becoming his wife and helpmeet. Also, you are sacrificing some of that pay-equality for the joy of air-conditioning. So quit your whining.


April 15, 2014

What Day is it?

In addition to being Tax Day, it is also
National Bicycle Day
National Library Workers Day
National Take a Wild Guess Day
And my personal favorite, National That Sucks Day.

April 14, 2014

Just do it.

I know. I should have posted a Friday Book Blog. I didn't. I haven't been reading very much so I had nothing to share.
I did cut a deal with my LSH whose turn it was to do our taxes this year. I traded mucking out the pond for taxes. Funny enough: we BOTH think we got the better end of the deal.
So, our taxes are filed, and the amazingly resilient Demeter and Persephone who somehow managed to survive the winter-of-never-ending-polar-vortices in that teeny pond choked with oak leaves are quite happy to be in clear, clean flowing water again! It does appear that spring is tenatively here.
Artist's representation of Demeter
Artist's representation of Persephone
I do wish it would hurry along though so we can assess what we have that was not as hardy as our two orange friends. Already, I know we lost the top half of an azalea and nearly all the buds on the pieris japonica.

April 10, 2014

No more cold, please

I noticed that last year I took some photos of the garden searching for signs of spring. And I found them: blooming primrose, budding hydrangea leaves. So this year when I look at the blooming crocus (the only sign of spring out there), I tell myself it's not so bad. Spring will come and everything will bloom again.
Then I notice that the date on the photos from last year is March 16.  MARCH. SIXTEENTH.

This effing winter has killed everything.

What my garden used to look like:

April 9, 2014

Mother Nature is a badass bitch

I posted this a while back (four years ago! time flies) about the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora, noting that the ash it spewed into the atmosphere was responsible for what we call "the year without a summer."
Turns out, according to Slate, Tambora was responsible for more than just a really snowy June. Scientists have linked (indirectly) the worldwide cholera epidemic of the early Victorian era, the Opium trade in the Golden Triangle (and by extension the Opium Wars) and the British Empire's failed attempts at Arctic exploration to the eruption. Oh, and did I mention the first depression ever in the fledgling United States? All of this is aside from the directly catastrophic events like the staggeringly enormous pyroclastic flow, the tsunami, and the devastating famine due to the loss of a growing season (or three).

April 8, 2014

Church song

Winchester Cathedral was consecrated 921 years ago today.
I hope you have that song stuck in your head now. (It's been in mine all day!)

April 7, 2014

DeChief

For opening day this year my company allowed us to dress-down in Indians gear. As a protest against the offensive caricature of Chief Wahoo, on opening day I "deChiefed" an old shirt. 
And I tweeted it (Yes, I'm on Twitter too.) with the hashtag #deChief. It was inspired by a Twitter user @DeChiefWahoo and I think it's a great way to show that we like our baseball team but hate the racist grinning mascot.

Everyone who supports/loves Wahoo uses the same two arguments: 1. It's tradition. and 2. It's not offensive to me.
Listen: 1. Slavery was traditional once too. Just because your grandpa always said n*gger doesn't mean it's okay. And 2. Blackface minstrel shows weren't offensive to the crowds of white people in the audiences, but that doesn't make them acceptable.

Anyway, the point of this blog post is: after getting a couple of re-tweets and such, I got a request from ABC News to use the image. And it brought to my attention that I had not officially posted on my blog about my disgust of Wahoo. (All over Facebook, other people's blogs, but not here.)

April 3, 2014

Do something about it.

I have read a lot of commentary on yesterday's Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited donations from a single "person" (for the purposes of this rant, we will assume "person" to indicate the SCOTUS definition, which of course, includes corporations).
The wing-nuts are calling this decision a victory for free speech (because, also according to SCOTUS, money is speech). In fact, the NRO actually justifies the removal of cumulative limits on political spending by comparing it to the New York Times spending millions upgrading its printing facilities. That's right. The NYT has spent millions creating a daily paper that has an opinion page which could influence public policy and elections. Therefore billionaires should be able to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians every year without limit on the overall amount donated.
The reality is that SCOTUS has just opened the door of Capitol Hill to the very very wealthy top 1% of our country. If you just look at the posse of insane clowns populating Congress now, it is NOTHING to what can be achieved with an inundation of misleading virulent advertising and a restricted and ignorant electorate. More voting restrictions, fewer voices being heard over the roar of money pouring into campaigns --large and small-- but mostly for Senate.
What the Supreme Court is telling me and you and all the rest of us who don't have $100K to give to a PAC, is that we no longer matter. What we have to say is too cheap to be worth listening to over the roar of checks cashing

Bullshit. 
SCOTUS doesn't like Congress's campaign finance laws preventing undue influence in politics? SCOTUS says they're unconstitutional? Here's a thought: Ask your Congressperson and Senators to make them constitutional. Nothing will protect our democracy more than a constitutional amendment calling for all elections to be publicly funded and NO money will be accepted for any candidate from and person.

April 2, 2014

Ethnic

Every once in a while, I like to get Indian food.
Do you think Indians every once in a while like to grab some chicken fingers and fries?

March 31, 2014

Real costs

The United States spent $82 billion last year on food stamps. We spend $180 billion a year on corporate tax breaks.
The next time someone starts complaining about the huge budget hit in feeding starving children RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA, tell them that until the corporate tax breaks end, they should shut the f**k up.

March 28, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

I was a bad blogger yesterday. We picked up our new (to us) car and didn't get back 'til late. So Thursday's post should really be this:

And today's post should be about something other than the owner's manual. Let's go with Clare Cosi and her Village Blend coffee shop in Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle. It's the archtypical cozy mystery but Clare, her ex-mother-in-law and her employees are fun. The story is suitably peppered with red herrings as well as delicious recipes. Plus it's much more fun than reading about traction control.

March 26, 2014

What ever happened to that secular society that our Founding Fathers envisioned?

I don't know how many of you are watching the Supreme Court case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., but you might want to pay attention.
For those unfamiliar, it is basically a religious freedom case in which Hobby Lobby has declared exemption from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) provision that says employers that provide insurance to their employees must be sure that insurance covers contraception with no co-pays. Hobby Lobby balked at this because, by golly, wimmen should be pregnant as much as possible cuz it is what the good lord intended.
They argue that allowing the women who work for them to actually receive the birth control pill as a fully covered prescription is a violation of their "deeply held religious beliefs." In addition there are at least three deeply religious, astronomically conservative justices on the Court who ALSO think that women should not be taking birth control pills willy-nilly.
Today, one of them -Chief Justice John Roberts- suggested that "closely held" businesses might be given greater latitude with religious freedom than a large public company.
The error in this argument is mind boggling. The Supreme Court is VERY close to deciding that YOUR company, if it is "closely held" -and I'm betting A LOT of you work for "closely held" companies- and is the source of your medical coverage, can decide what your insurance covers. Granted, this case is specifically looking at contraception (for women) because that is suddenly a thing that we are no longer allowed to control. Our wombs are being taken over by old white men who are being giant assholes about it. But, the arguments in Court are addressing a corporation's religious rights (and whether they are legally allowed to impose them on their employees). If the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, technically there is nothing to prevent your company (provided, of course, that it's "closely held") to limit your access to anything the owner might deem offensive to his or her deeply held religious beliefs.
First they made corporations people. Now they're making corporations religious. And they are allowing those religious corporations to impose their beliefs on their employees who, apparently, have no recourse.
Let's all hope that saner, secular heads prevail, but based on the past shenanigans of this Court, you  might want to stock up on your prescriptions now, while the stuff is still covered.

March 25, 2014

Weird books

This is a cheater post, but I did want to share the wacky hijinks from Mental Floss. Some of these book titles make a bit of sense when you read the subtitle, see the cover art, or put them in context. But no matter what you do to it, How to Poo on a Date is just. NO.

March 24, 2014

Contrary

Why is it that whenever you are considering making a significant purchase (car, house, boat, etc.) that everyone you know suddenly has the best advice?
And they are always offering you suggestions that are contrary to their own actions. "Buy a house in K town. They have the best schools and lowest taxes," says the guy who lives in U town.  "Model C cars are the best," says the friend who drives a Model L.

March 20, 2014

I'm ready.

You probably already know it's the first day of spring today.
No more snow until December. (hahahahahahahahahahaa)

March 19, 2014

Learn something along the way

In the interest of furthering our interest in Crimea. We are doing a Wikimaze.
Crimea to Cry Me A River.
  1. Crimea
  2. Russia
  3. Sochi
  4. 2014 Winter Olympics
  5. 2010 Winter Olympics
  6. 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony
  7. Bryan Adams
  8. Michael BublĂ© 
  9. Cry Me a River
Not bad. Under 10.

March 18, 2014

Stay away

While the situation in Crimea is unfortunate and likely will lead to a short (and decisive) war between Ukraine and Russia, we Americans just don't care.
It is sad. But more Americans are concerned about how weak we appear to be rather than how many Ukrainians die or become refugees.
And we want our nation to look mean and threatening, but we are unwilling to back up our bluster with actual troops and weapons. Good. We don't need to lose American lives just to prove that our president has a set of balls inside his mom-jeans.
Crimea is far away. We don't understand their history. Hell, we don't even understand their language. Let them sort it out.

March 17, 2014

Saint Paddy

A bunch of people may wish you the "luck o' the Irish" today. If they do, you have every right to be offended. Historically, from the Viking raiders to the potato famine to the Troubles, the Irish have not had a lot of good luck. In fact, I can't think of an unluckier nation.

March 14, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

Friday Book Blogging is back! I read Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit over the past two weeks. The book is an interesting look at Theodore Roosevelt's love-hate relationship with the media of his time, what we now refer to as muckrakers. At just under 750 pages of text with photos and over 150 pages of notes, it was a hefty read. And it did not flow as well as other Goodwin books have. (Her Team of Rivals is one of my favorites.)
Therefore, I am choosing Alan Bradley's Speaking From Among the Bones as my favorite for the week. I'm a little behind in my Flavia deLuce reading. Bradley has a newer one out now, but I hadn't read this one yet and 11-year-old Flavia is in her best form. Scientific without being pedantic and narrated in the voice I imagine most 11-year-old girls sound like in their own heads. This fun mystery will have you cheering for the whole village of Bishop Lacey. But, it ends with a cliffhanger, so be warned that you'll want the next one in line soon!