foolsguinea: (Default)
I posted some Maddow links on Facebook. Ma is reblogging nonsensical memes, so I went to Snopes to back my sense that they're made up.

I found an article on Jack Kirby that I liked, and linked to it.

So I'd been linking to Snopes to fight mistaken "facts," and I found a tiny inaccuracy in this Snopes article, which makes me sad. J.M. DeMatties is the "J.M." in comic books who ISN'T named Joe. (JML and JMS are of course both "Joe'). I think DeMatteis goes by "Marc."

I hope that sort of mistake doesn't put people off Snopes.

I think I'll send them a note....

I enjoyed your piece on Jack Kirby.

But I was surprised to see you refer to J.M. DeMatteis as "Joe DeMatteis." I believe he goes by "Marc." There are two famous comic-book writers with the initials "J.M." that may have confused the writer: Joseph Michael Linsner and J. Michael Straczynski both go by "Joe." Marc DeMatteis's first name appears to be "John."
foolsguinea: (Default)
My last entry (about "media bias") was just kind of crabby. I'm leaving it up, but seriously, skip that one. Yes, you.

The one about waking up and seeing colors, that was a good entry.
foolsguinea: (Default)
A LiveJournal community was talking about "liberal media bias" on US television news. See, I think that reputation is overblown by a few cultural conservatives and pro-lifers. Here's a comment I left. I'm slanting it a little, sure, maybe a little hyperbole, but point out where you think I'm wrong:

or don't, and skip the rage )
foolsguinea: (sun)
I opened my right eye when I woke up from REM sleep. Over the next few moments, I had both a narrowish red streak and a larger yellow splotch briefly overlay my vision before settling on clear white light. Is that the eye adjusting to sunlight, the nervous system coming out of REM, maybe something my left eye was "seeing" that got overlaid? Odd.

Maybe I was "dreaming" it. I came fully out of REM, and it was gone.
foolsguinea: (Default)
I just added a few quotes to my page of quotes.


I was trying to be more "mindful" and focused this week and really not managing. I can feel really creative and come up with big monologues or whatever while taking a shower, but I can't as often then go and type them down.


Aug. 25th, 2013 03:10 pm
foolsguinea: (Default)
(This is a bit of an overreaction, probably. Most of the time, people are not this snippy about it. But it might help some Yanks understand how annoying certain usages are to other people.)

It's "the United States of America" because those that named it meant to annex the whole of "America." It was the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. I imagine many gringos still hope to subvert Canada fully into the USA, even if they've largely given up on absorbing Latin America. (This explains much of the response to Ted Cruz's Canadian birth.)

The USA usage directly derives from this historical political stance. Defending it now because, "that's how we use it, so you latinos can suck it and accept it," is silly. All of these other people use it the other way, so gringos can suck it up and accept that. Do you mean to revive Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the hemisphere by a band of self-important Anglo-Saxon republicans?

Note that many Europeans still think that "America" is one continent, incorporating what we call "the Americas." And some are barely aware of the rest of the hemisphere and just assume that they are our unimportant satellites, rather like gringos may see Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal as just parts of India.

The usage of "American" to mean "gringo" is not just an insult, but an attempt to mentally erase the identities and sovereignties of all those who have struggled to be independent of gringo imperialism. It is a meme-crime.

The colombiana in the story didn't say that Mr Kirk couldn't call himself an American. She said that he couldn't redefine the word to stop her from calling herself American, because she is. Mr Kirk is defending the everyday erasure of América in favor of "America." Dead wrong, and racist.

So call it Yankea, Gringostan, or the territory of the blood cult of Georgie Washington and his liberated slavers, but if you call it "America" and then tell people from actual, real America that they're not Americans, getting scolded is least you deserve.
foolsguinea: (Default)
Medical researchers have long puzzled over schizophrenia’s late emergence (it was first diagnosed in 1911, in Switzerland) and its prevalence in the industrial world, where the illness is degenerative and permanent. (In “primitive” societies, when it exists at all, it is typically a passing malady.) In 2005, when Jean-Paul Selten and Elizabeth Cantor-Graae, experts on the epidemiology of schizophrenia, reviewed various risk factors—foremost among them migration, racism, and urban upbringing—they found that the factors all involved chronic isolation and loneliness, a condition that they called “social defeat.” They theorized that “social support protects against the development of schizophrenia.”
Chronic isolation and loneliness? Yep. That's me.

As a teenager, I used to tell people I was schizophrenic. I wasn't really. But as an adult, I have come close.
The second-wave feminists had hoped to alleviate this isolation through the refuge of sisterhood. “We were like pioneers who’d left the Old Country,” Phyllis Chesler, a feminist psychologist and the author of “Women and Madness” (1972), told me. “And we had nowhere to go back to. We had only each other.” That is, until the movement’s collapse. Last fall, as I interviewed New York’s founding radical feminists, the stories of “social defeat” mounted: painful solitude, poverty, infirmity, mental illness, and even homelessness. In a 1998 essay, “The Feminist Time Forgot,” Kate Millett lamented the lengthening list of her sisters who had “disappeared to struggle alone in makeshift oblivion or vanished into asylums and have yet to return to tell the tale,” or who fell into “despairs that could only end in death.” She noted the suicides of Ellen Frankfort, the author of “Vaginal Politics,” and Elizabeth Fisher, the founder of Aphra, the first feminist literary journal. “We haven’t helped each other much,” Millett concluded. We “haven’t been able to build solidly enough to have created community or safety.”
Trying to be a revolutionary is dangerous. Conservatism a path of safety.

For most of my life, I was too much on my own. Too surrounded by a religion I could not accept, too afraid to give up the safety net of my family, to distrustful of all outside the church I hated.

I don't know how to trust people, how to live.
foolsguinea: (julibrissin)
Which of my several online identities should I post this as? It feels like it belongs here, but maybe not. So if you see this copied verbatim by someone else later, it might be one of my other identities. But it probably isn't. I know I spend a lot of time online, but I'm not really posting as a hundred different people.

This week I got to talk to people from the mental health department who are 1) used to crazy people and 2) refreshingly did not try to drug me. One of them asked me what I wanted. I said I didn't want a boss, ever, and some other stuff. He said, "I asked you what you wanted, and you told me what you don't want. What do you want?"

So I told him. What I said there will not be repeated in this post.

But the question goes with stuff I've been thinking about this last week. Yesterday's trip to the mental health department helps me understand some things about myself and where I have been.

And as for what I want, what I want to be, and who I am, there is this:

I am a writer. OK, I know this is insane, because I DO NOT WRITE. But I am. I am not disabled; I am not a bum; I freely admit that I am "crazy people," but I am not primarily a mental case or a mental patient. I am in my head, trying to analyze, to put into words my understanding. I'm just not getting it on paper.

And just because I've been biting my tongue for thirty years doesn't mean I'm not paying attention--nor that I can't see you, see through you, and make some judgements about you.

If I treat myself as a mental case and my psychology as something to be fixed, I am miserable, and trying to conform to--to what? To what outside myself should I conform? Not my mother's religion. I won't try to change her mind, and she can't convince me of her god's legitimacy. Not some incoherent idea of social normalcy. I want something to believe in; and I believe in this:

I am a writer. I am a thinker. It hurt a lot when my grandfather said I didn't think, because I was thinking all the time. It was all I did. I'm not saying I thought well.

It doesn't matter that I am middle-aged, and did not write when I was young and ostensibly fecund. It should; it should deter me, it should convince me that I am wasting my time pretending to write. But it would be irresponsible of me to not get the things in my head out. I look around and see that there are things I have seen that no one else is saying--and that someone needs to say.

If I try to work as something else, to work really hard to conform to something outside myself, it's still hard. It's just--someone to follow. If I try to work as a writer, it's still hard. And miserable. But it's me--if and only if I write for myself.

I may write trashy short stories, I may write deep philosophy. I hope to write both. I may write under several pen names. I may write stuff I will pretend I did not write if anyone asks. I may write stuff that never gets submitted to an agent, let alone published. And all of that is OK.

I expect to die younger than average, cold and alone, angry at the world; to believe the world is against me and to be right. I will lose friends--I already have. And all of that is OK. Emily Dickenson is taught in schools where a commercial writer would not hope to be, and even the best scientific researchers barely are. I will write that my words--my ideas--outlive me. They may not; they may die with me. But I have to try. When you plant the seed, you do not know if the tree will be uprooted by the storm.

I am supposed to be this. When I was a boy, I wanted to be a writer, more than I wanted to write. I wanted my name on something, something to sign--whether music or books or movies. When I was a youth, it scared me. I didn't want to be lost in the pages, I want to live. For much of my younger life, I wanted to get away from it. But I never managed to be something other than a writer, but to then think, but I really want to write something. I was, "not a writer." A failed writer, in that I failed to write.

Maybe I'm not a writer. Maybe it's a stand-in for being real--real to the small child who spent a lot of time in libraries, who wanted to feel validated and there by being in a book. Maybe it's my way to what grown-up is supposed to feel. I didn't get that until I wrote the post above this paragraph, though. I'm not sure how much I've ever gotten that before.

Maybe it would be enough for the part of me that wants something to sign, for me to be a sculptor or a singer. But that wouldn't allow me to explain things complexly as I compulsively want to do. I would still really be writing, just with added interest to grab the eye.

Maybe I am just crazy. Maybe my ideas are really really childish and small, now--the ones that I have from childhood.

But what can I say? I'm the only me I've got.

And I really do have one story in me I have to tell, and I don't even mean my own.

Even if it's not how I make a living.

So now what?
foolsguinea: (suzie)
I'm using the public library's wifi to get my internet fix. When I came in there was a sign on the door: "SGI - World Peace Prayer Meeting."

Huh. In a minute it occurred to me. Soka Gakkai International. I poked my head in the door. "Are you Soka Gakkai?" They said yes. Apparently we have some here in town. Well, good to know they exist.

I didn't stay, I don't want to be a wet blanket on things like that.
foolsguinea: (Default)
Apparently I need a job.

I don't want a job. I wouldn't like a job. And contrary to what people may think, I did not need a job before now. I had people who would take care of me to a minimum standard, which is all a proletarian really works for in this economy. And I lack ambition, which is what middle-class people work for.

I would have benefited from a job, sure. I'd be better off. But I didn't need one desperately, and it was more attractive to blow all that off. So jobs I had I tended to quit pretty quickly.

But now, yeah, I'm probably going to end up living on the streets or something. Where I can't access my habit (the internet) that tends to get in the way of living the healthy life I'm not living. I wondered about just throwing out my computer. But the last thing I thought I could do for a living involved it.

I've been thinking about why the idea of work is so disgusting to me, but I can read message board threads for hours. I think it's about a mix of stimulation and control. A mix I don't expect to find in any job.

Another thing: Don't tell me to continue my education. I'm almost 40, and if I couldn't hack it when I was younger, I'm certainly not going to be capable now. I am an old dog who can't learn new tricks at the desired speed.

I never really understood work, nor money, nor budgets, nor how people survive. I don't suppose I ever will. It makes no more sense to me than living like a wild beast. But I don't have the patience to live like a wild beast.

So, yeah, apparently I need a job.
foolsguinea: (Default)

It may be a bit late to be telling people what I want for Christmas, but yeah, this:
The one pictured above is the "10x6.25 Inches Graphic Drawing Tablet w/ 8 Hot Key" --$50.
There are some cheaper ones without the hot keys.

So if people want to chip in and buy me one, that'd be spiff.
foolsguinea: (zayra)
I'm a consequentialist, and believe that there is an objective scale of good.

I do not believe that scale corresponds very closely with socially constructed standards of good, which are reinforced by social prejudice and tend to evolve for reasons that have little to do with objective utility.

What then, is good? In my mind, it's at least party life itself in all its complexity: the biosphere and everything in it, the joy of childhood, the hummingbird in his blossom, and the wind off the sea. The purpose of life is to live. The best ethic is thus largely a sort of conservation: That which sustains and preserves, that which functions to maintain the beauty of life over the long term without irrevocably destroying and damaging those around it.

(In an lj community, someone was asking about an objective basis for morality. This is what I've got.)
foolsguinea: (Default)
Romney picks running mate who would lower his taxes:


And under Paul Ryan’s conservative tax plan … Mitt Romney would pay .82% in taxes. That’s less than 1%
That's right: less than one percent.

Listen to me, Mittens. You know what you are? You're a greedy little shit with too much money. That's all you are.

You know what you aren't? You aren't Albert Einstein expanding our understanding of the universe. You aren't Dr. Paul Offit curing rotavirus in third world countries. You aren't Isaac Newton or that Nobel prize winner in Burma bravely confronting the world's worst government. You're not a parent coping with a child with cystic fibrosis or the guy who wrote this year's Pulitzer prize winning expose. You're not the firefighter pulling the guy out of the burning building or the first grade teacher in the disadvantaged schools trying to teach little kids to read.

You're just a greedy little shit. So drop the fucking pretense. I am sick and tired of hearing people like yourself demanding to be worshipped by ordinary people and accorded a special place in the tax code. There are millions of others who serve this country and this world far more than you ever will. Stop throwing a temper tantrum, grow the fucking hell up and pay your fair share of taxes like the rest of us.
This should be human mic'd at Romney rallies from here until he drops dead, or the election, whichever comes last.
foolsguinea: (Default)
Dade Behring is a cause célèbre for Romney’s and Bain’s critics, and it illustrates the leverage problem clearly. In 1994, Bain bought Dade International, a medical-diagnostics company, then added the medical-diagnostics division of DuPont in 1996 and a German medical-testing company called Behring in 1997. Former Dade president Bob Brightfelt says the operation started well: the Bain managers were “pretty smart guys,” he recalls, and they did well cutting out overlap, and exploiting synergies.

Then brutal cost cutting began. Bain cut R&D spending to an average of 8 percent of sales, a little more than half what its competitors were doing. Cindy Hewitt, Dade’s human-resources manager, remembers how the firm closed a Puerto Rico plant in 1998, a year after harvesting $7.1 million in local tax breaks aimed at job creation, and relocated some staff to Miami, then the company’s most profitable plant. Based on re­a­ssur­ances she had received from her superiors, she told those uprooting themselves from Puerto Rico that their jobs in Miami were safe for now—but then Bain closed the Miami plant. “Whether you want to call it misled, or lied, or manipulated, I do not believe they provided full information about what discussions were under way,” she says. “I would never want to be part of even unintentionally treating people so poorly.”

Bain engaged in startling penny-pinching with the laid-off employees. Their contracts stipulated that if they left early they would have to pay back the costs of relocating to Miami—but in spite of all that Dade had done to them, it refused to release the employees from this clause. “They said they would go after them for that money if they left before Bain was finished with them,” Hewitt recalls. Not only that, but the company declined to give workers their severance pay in lump sums to help them fund their return home.
Then it got worse.

“We have criticized offshore tax havens for their secrecy and lack of transparency,” said Senator Carl Levin. “But look what is going on in our own backyard.”


One cannot properly understand Wall Street’s size and power without appreciating the central role of offshore tax havens. There is absolutely no evidence that Bain has done anything illegal, but private equity is one channel for this secrecy-shrouded foreign money to enter the United States, and a filing for Mitt Romney’s first $37 million Bain Capital Fund, of 1984, provides a rare window into this. One foreign investor, of $2 million, was the newspaper tycoon, tax evader, and fraudster Robert Maxwell, who fell from his yacht, and drowned, off of the Canary Islands in 1991 in strange circumstances, after looting his company’s pension fund. The Bain filing also names Eduardo Poma, a member of one of the “14 families” oligarchy that has controlled most of El Salvador’s wealth for decades; oddly, Poma is listed as sharing a Miami address with two anonymous companies that invested $1.5 million between them. The filings also show a Geneva-based trustee overseeing a trust that invested $2.5 million, a Bahamas corporation that put in $3 million, and three corporations in the tax haven of Panama, historically a favored destination for Latin-American dirty money—“one of the filthiest money-laundering sinks in the world,” as a U.S. Customs official once put it.


Many Americans might react with a shrug to the idea of shady foreign money such as Robert Maxwell’s being invested here. But, says Rebecca Wilkins, of the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, “It is shocking that a presidential candidate should think that is O.K.”
foolsguinea: (doctor who)
I think I took some bad sun damage to my nose in the last week. Last night I was kind of picking at some blackheads, and two spots where there were blackheads bled on merely being touched. Frightening.
foolsguinea: (Default)
Ma found the car key. But then...

She hasn't walked her dogs in months, what with the broken foot. She decided to take them out in the yard and alley today, because I wasn't there. She was in the alley when our scrappy little pit bull (mix?) bitch got jumped by a larger dog (also a pit bull bitch?) left unleashed next door.

So our bitch has a hole in her scalp that will probably leave a shirt-button sized scar, and Ma took some flesh damage to a finger, trying to break them up.

I thought, well, the dog (who has the expected hunt and guard reflexes, and has gotten into trouble for it in the past) got a taste of her own medicine. Then I thought, she's probably thrilled. She likes to scrap.

Actually, I think she's hurting a lot right now.
foolsguinea: (Default)
So Ma apparently just lost the only key to the car. Note that the old car is sitting out front partly because she lost its key when she got this one.

Grr argh.


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