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The Award I’m Not Accepting

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Oh, please, shut up already!

Son K smirked in solidarity when I yelled at the woman who was speechifying on television. “This is the kind of person,” he said, gesturing at the TV, “who gives social justice warriors a bad name.”

Let me set the stage: you are watching a stage, a stage from which, you sense, there is going to be a Pontificating Moment. You are, for whatever reasons, *** watching an awards show on TV. Not one of those candy-ass People’s Choice imitations, but one of the “biggies” – The Oscars; The Tonys; The Emmys (it usually doesn’t happen at The Golden Globe Awards, because the participants are too tipsy to be serious).  The winner’s name is called; they feign surprise, make their way to the stage, clutch their trophy…and you can see the warning light flash in their eyes. Instead of a heartfelt thanking of family and friends, or a recitation of an interminable laundry list of industry asses to kiss, [1]  they’ve decided to take advantage of the situation and torture a captive audience make the stage their platform and educate (read: lecture) a global broadcast audience.

 

facepalm

Please…make it not so.

 

I refer of course to last Sunday’s 2016 Emmy Awards, and the full-of-herself windbag excited winner in the My Show Is More Smugly Diverse Than Yours Best Director of A Comedy Series category, Jill Soloway, creator of the Amazon series, Transparent.

*** Before I continue with my rant thoughtfully considered illumination of a cultural phenomenon, let me explain the afore-mentioned You are, for whatever reasons, watching an awards show on TV.  The whatever reasons in my house = what has turned into a family tradition: watching an entertainment awards show on TV whilst dining [2] on “movie food.” Movie food is defined as hot dogs, popcorn, nachos,  Skittles and Junior Mints and Red Vines licorice and/or your favorite movie theatre candies and snacks, washed down with liberal amounts of a sparkling beverage.

Our family friend LAH has been part of our tradition for years, and she joined MH and I on Sunday, along with our son, K. Responsible College Graduate And Gainfully Employed Young Man ®  that he is, K no longer lives at home but could not pass up the opportunity for an Awards Night Movie Food Dinner ©  [3] …even though a few of us ANMFD participants (read: everyone but K) now try to lower the life-shortening effects of authentic movie food by substituting tofu/veggie dogs and/or burgers for the Scary Mystery Meat Sodium Bombs traditional hot dogs.  

 

 

 

tvdinner

 

 

 

Yet again, I digress. Back to the awards show.

I’d only seen one episode of Transparent, and was meh-impressed (trans – no pun intended – lation: Meh as in mehbe I’ll watch another episode, some day, when I’m folding laundry and nothing else is on.). [4] Soloway’s bloated, self-important acceptance speech made me never want to watch another episode of her series, on principle.

Is this person on stage giving an oration about winning an award for a Very Very Very Important…TV comedy? I wondered aloud.  Because her oh-so-serious-and-earnest emoting seems more fitting for a filmmaker documenting a Doctors Without Borders group of volunteers battling an Ebola epidemic.

“…this thing that these people call television, but I call a revolution.”

Yep, the director compared what she does to a revolution – you know, the thing defined as “a (usually) violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one.” I was reminded of advertising hacks who use hyperbole to shill mundane products that are, in fact, anything but world-shattering (“Oral-B-Clean’s Vibra-rama strip is the revolutionary [5]  way to floss!”).

BTW, I hope any Syrian refugees watching the show, or anyone with the misfortune to be involved in an actual revolution, took comfort from realizing that their struggles are comparable to – if less entertaining and worthy of prime time TV coverage than – the subject matter of a TV comedy series.

Soloway ended her sermon speech by raising her trophy aloft and chanting, “Topple the patriarchy! Topple the patriarchy!”

 

 

 

really

 

 

After Soloway’s harangue the Emmy Awards show’s emcee, comedian and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, [6]  had the tricky task of segueing to the next award presentation. Kimmel provided a mood-lightening transition when said he wasn’t sure how to respond: “I’m trying to figure out if ‘topple the patriarchy’ is a good thing for me or not,” he quipped.

Certain Actors, Directors and Show Biz People ©  :  I love you, love your work, even (usually) agree with your politics [7] – I mean, topple the patriarchy, I am so there – but  wise up, please. An entertainment awards show is neither the time nor the place to promote your political or social (or even human rights) agenda.

So. Attention, Self-Important/Self-Anointed Spokespeople For Righteous Causes: yeah, we get it. Just thank the audience and awards presenters, say something nice about your family, then shut up, go backstage, and fondle your trophy.

 

*   *   *

 

Department Of When You Don’t Know Which Noun To Use

Last week’s Science Friday program provided a brief but golden moment for us neologism lovers. It featured an interview with Ann Druyan and Frank Drake, two of the creators of Voyager’s Golden Record – the phonograph record collection placed aboard both Voyager probes launched in 1977.

The records were chosen to provide a combination ship-in-a-bottle/time capsule selection of sounds and images to illustrate the variety of Terran life and culture. Drake spoke about having to be careful re what to include: scientists wanted the collection be culturally and scientifically representative…but then there are those prickly human sensibilities to consider: [8]

NASA got nervous, because they knew (including anatomically correct drawings of naked people) could create a big public  _____.”

My mind was a split second ahead, and expected Drake to finish the sentence with either outcry, or uproar, but instead he neologized [9]  outroar.

 

 

 

firstcontact

“Greetings. We made first contact to find out what happened to the naked pictures we so enjoyed on your earlier space probes.”

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Things That Just Strike Me Every Now And Then

 

One evening last week, as MH and I were doing après-dinner kitchen cleanup, I began singing a song. Seemingly apropos of nothing and without really being aware of what I was doing what it was, I chuckled when I realized I was warbling the Hank Williams classic, ”Your Cheatin’ Heart.

When I was a young child my father would sing to me after reading a bedtime story. Chet Parnell had a nice, mellow singing voice; he loved Hank Williams’ music, and YCH was one of his favorites. I learned to sing along with whatever the song was, although as a three year old I didn’t pay much attention to the words.

Looking back, YCH – a mournful song about cuckolded husband predicting heartache for his straying wife – was an odd choice for a bedtime lullaby. But it wouldn’t have mattered if it were an ode to the sinking of the Titanic – it wasn’t the lyrics that meant so much to me then…or now. It was that my daddy sang me to sleep.

 

 

 

*   *   *

May your acceptance speeches be short and sweet;
May your hopes and dreams be Golden Record-worthy;
May you not shuffle off this mortal coil without having sung someone to sleep;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] “I’d like to thank my long-suffering agent, my genius publicist, my courageous accountant…”

[2] In the loosest definition of the term.

[3] Plus, I bribed him with homemade guacamole.

[4] Okay, when MH – or someone else, anyone else in this house – is folding laundry. Homey don’t play that.

[5] Is there no one in advertising – surely, at least one English major populates the profession – who actually cares about the definition of words? Can a dental hygiene product – or laundry detergent or weed whacker or shoelace organizer or any consumer product – rightfully be described as revolutionary? I sincerely doubt that governments will be overthrown if people find a new way to pick their teeth.

[6] IMHO all award shows should be hosted by quick-thinking comics who can provide on-the-spot retorts to prick the overinflated ego balloons of award recipients.

[7] It’s that liberal Hollywood elite crowd, after all.

[8] Prudish early ’70’s media criticized NASA over the nudity (line drawings of the figures of a man and woman which, along with other  symbols, were designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft) included on the Pioneer plaque.

[9] Itself a neologism, courtesy of moiself. I’m open to changes in spelling.

The Trigger Warning I’m Not Posting

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Trigger Warning: Anthony Please-somebody-look-at-my Wiener content.

I think Stephen King should consider writing a sequel to Creepshow – this one about the batshit crazy ways of former politician/perpetual political embarrassment of a historical footnote, Anthony Weiner.

After being caught at least twice in sexting scandals, even a self-absorbed tallywhacker tweeter like Señor Schlongbottom Mr. Weiner has got to know that he’s being watched. Is he so passive-aggressive that he cannot openly ask for a divorce but must do something he knows will (finally) force his wife into this-is-the-last-straw mode?

Whatever the reason he does what he does, I can’t help but do the armchair shrink speculation about the pathologies behind such WTF? behavior. If the guy weren’t a politician with a once-promising career he’d be just another third-rate creep slinking around his neighborhood at night, looking for an open ground floor bedroom window in front of which he could flash his not-so-private parts.

“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life.”
(Huma Abedin, in a press conference announcing her separation from her husband)

Correction, Ms. Abedin, If I may.

Although I’ve no basis for questioning your parental devotion, your spineless weasel of a pecker-brained husband is not “devoted to,” nor apparently even mildly concerned with, doing what is best for your son. Instead, AW set up your son for a life of embarrassment-by-association by texting a lewd crotch shot selfie which included his son in the picture.

 

 

facepalm

 

 

Not to get all science-y on ya, but there is a term used by mental health professionals to describe those people who engage in compulsive paraphilia, such as exposing their genitals to strangers:

ICK.

*   *   *

Department Of Public Service

Trigger warning: warnings about trigger warnings.

Scientists studying mental health have shown that evidence-based practices, such Cognitive Based Therapy and Desensitization or  exposure therapies, have proved to be the most effective treatments for phobias. As one CBT therapist writes (my emphases), “… The natural response to fear is avoidance and escape. Yet the more you attempt to avoid and escape fear (the fight-flight response), the stronger it becomes and the more ground you lose. This is because avoidance blocks your brain’s ability to learn….”

Similar evidence is now emerging to discredit the well-intentioned but often ill-considered practice of trigger warnings.

 

 

triggerwarning

 

 

 

The use of trigger warnings originated in Internet chat rooms and web communities [1] and has spread to blogs [2] and other public writings and forums, and even to newspapers. The TW practice has become especially problematic and controversial in college and university settings, where some self-appointed social justice warriors (which have included both professors and students) have demanded written warnings to alert students that a class may deal with materials covering an increasingly wide range of potentially sensitive subjects, from ethnicity/race, war, torture and genocide to religion, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation,ageism, artistic interpretation, imperialism, aesthetic preferences, colonialism – you know, like, everything the collection of humanity has ever had to deal with.

“Trigger warnings are designed to help survivors avoid reminders of their trauma, thereby preventing emotional discomfort. Yet avoidance reinforces PTSD. Conversely, systematic exposure to triggers and the memories they provoke is the most effective means of overcoming the disorder.”
(Richard J. McNally, Harvard professor of psychology, in a roundup of the research on trigger warnings)

I’ve long been suspicious about TWs, even as I understand the intent behind them. And both of my offspring have relayed situations in college wherein a few of their perfectly functional (if immature and brazenly uninformed), non-PTSD-suffering peers used the “trigger warning” and “creating a safe space” concepts to curtail and even censor the kind of discussions and data analyses college students should be engaging in. [3]

More and more have my suspicions been confirmed by…well…evidence.

“…I have to question whether trigger warnings are in students’ best interests. One of the cardinal symptoms of PTSD is avoidance, which can become the most impairing symptom of all. If someone has been so affected by an event in her life that reading a description of a rape in Ovid’s Metamorphoses can trigger nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks, she is likely to be functionally impaired in areas of her life well beyond the classroom. The solution is not to help these students dig themselves further into a life of fear and avoidance by allowing them to keep away from upsetting material.”
(psychologist Sarah Roff, who specializes in the treatment of trauma, in her article Treatment, Not Trigger Warnings, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Writer and social activist Dan Savage does a nice/pithy job of summarizing the research (and providing the links to the same) on trigger warnings in his recent article for The Stranger. The article, titled Shut Up About Trigger Warnings…let’s read about them instead, is the source of the above two quotes, and is well worth your read, be you trigger-sensitive, trigger-free or trigger-happy.

 

 

Trigger

Trigger happy – that’s us!

*   *   *

Department Of This Is The Kind Of Thing…

…that makes me want to march in the streets with hipsters wearing ill-fitting, faux fedoras, hurl bricks through bank windows and spout slogans like death to the fascist insect that preys upon the people.

The Epipen price hike scandal.

Capitalism, schmapitalism. It’s fucking medical extortion.

And it was no surprise to read that the (previous?) holder of the title of most hated person in American title – Martin Shkreli, the sneering rapacious, price-gouging grave robber pharmaceutical entrepreneur who upped the cost of life-saving AIDS medication by 5000+ percent – was a-okay with the move. Cause, it’s just business.

 

 

grave_robery1

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Shake Your Groove Thang…Or Just Flaunt Your Groove Ring

In an earlier post I mentioned MH’s and my search for alternatives to – or in our case, replacements for – our metal wedding bands  [4] :

Apparently, it – the market for more functional, versatile alternatives to traditional metal wedding bands  – is a thing, now.
And if it’s a thing that ends up on my and MH’s fingers, you’ll hear about it, here.

Well, the hear is here. Our Groove rings arrived in the mail earlier this week.

MH and I have both admitted to each other that, in the past 18+ months, we’ve grown accustomed to (and in my case, even prefer) not wearing a ring…and that now, it feels [5]strange now to do so. Neither of us had ever worn rings prior to donning our wedding bands, and for me, it was quite an adjustment, always twisting it and blowing under it after washing my hands or while doing feed preparation – even after 25+ years I never fully got used to the feeling that something was “stuck” underneath it.

Still, we both, tentatively, have decided we like our new rings. Also, as MH pointed out, an important consideration/factor in choice, if you have the option, is for your new ring to match one of your cats.

 

 

ring

 

*   *   *

May you live a Wiener-text-free life;
May you not be the subject of anyone’s trigger warning;
May you flaunt your rings as you choose;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Mainly/allegedly for the benefit of people suffering from PTSD.

[2] Regular readers of this blog will note that I use both trigger and content warnings. Readers with IQs greater than their shoe size will note that I use such warnings as an illustration of my general distaste for such “alerts.”

[3] If you’re upset with someone presenting evidence and opinions that counter your party line in a discussion in your class on “Gender and Society,” FFS, why are you in such a class in the first place? Stay home, recite your doctrine in front of a mirror while you administer reassuring back pats to yourself, and take Poetry for Non-Poets or Graphic Novel Symbolism and the Post-Madonna Zeitgeist to satisfy your humanities core requirement units.

[4] which MH and I had stopped wearing due to MH’s finger joint irritation.

[5] Time for another footnote. Noooooooooo.

The Addiction I’m Not Kicking

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Department Of There’s A Rehab Facility For That

I am going through withdrawal. The tremors have set in; my arm shakily reaches for the remote; I howl with delirium when I  realize that I can no longer turn on the TV at any time of day and see a volleyball match or a kayak slalom race, or that heretofore unknown cultural treasure, the Mongolian Pants Removing Snit, nor any of the other Olympic Games I so enjoy watching.

 

sob

Life is misery wrapped in torment smothered in agony.

 

 

Perhaps, you think, I over-exaggerate?

Except that I don’t, and won’t. Because to over-exaggerate is not a thing – except for grammatically boorish jockstrap-for-brains athletes attempting to excuse their bald-faced, bare-assed lies. And also because I

(a) understand the difference between evident embellishment and imminent perjury, and

(b) trust that The Grammar Cop ®  would slap me sideways into a Rio de Janeiro drunk tank for using such an inanely redundant expression.

 

grammar

Would you like fries with that slap, ma’am?

 

 

Yes, I am of course referring to the criminal and just plain asshat behavior of American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Lochte (the surname originates from an obscure Mongolian term for privileged frat-brained douchebag) has hired a public relations firm to rescue him from his own weasel-worded, mendacious non-apology craft a contrition strategy and mitigate the social, reputational and financial damage resulting from his character-revealing attempt to cover his own crimes by claiming that he was actually a crime victim. And although I like the idea of him having to pay to enlist others to help him deal with the consequences of his cover-up, I certainly hope it wasn’t a professional  promotion hack  genius who came up with the idea for Lochte (which translates into Old Norse as chlorine-shriveled-testicles-for-wits) to use the phrase over-exaggerated.

Brazilian authorities were, eventually, not as gullible as Lochte (which is Bulgarian slang for over-exaggerated sense of self-entitlement) and his buddies evidently thought or hoped: the evidence showed that he repeatedly lied about being the victim of an armed robbery after he and three of his fellow swimmers played Ugly American at a Rio gas station after a night of proudly representing their country’s Olympic Spirit drunken debauchery. Thus, the swimmer was prompted to make a series of defensive, not-quite-apology statements, including the now infamous claim that instead of just pulling the story out of his ass, he was merely guilty of having over-exaggerated.

Now, I am not totally without sympathy for any person who has to face the consequences of his bad behavior. It seems that his actions and lies have cost Lochte (which is Ukranian for would you buy a used pair of swim goggles from this man?) at least four major endorsement deals, including those with Speedo and Gentle Hair Removal.

Thus, I find myself weeping for yet another inconceivable loss for humanity: that we shall be deprived of an athlete’s manscaping and ding-a-ling sling  [1] shilling skills.

Once again, I over-exaggerate.

 

 

WORD

*   *   *

Speaking Of Bloated Egos, Self Entitlement, And Lying Sacks Of Shit

I’m on the fence re whether knowing a political candidate’s medical history/status is or should be of major importance to the electorate. [2]  I don’t care to peruse either candidate’s medical file, and don’t have to concern myself with that since neither Clinton nor Trump have released their medical records. But both parties have released statements from their respective candidate’s personal physicians, statements which attest to the candidates’ respective, robust health. The statement from Trump’s “doctor” was – SURPRISE! –  rather mind-boggling, to put it mildly, and, IMHO, calls for an investigative reporter to figure a few things out.

Namely, what kind of doctor, except for perhaps one who adheres to the PT Barnum philosophy of Showmanship Medicine, releases a statement like the following, in which the alleged physician claims, without substantiation or definition, that Trump’s lab results are “astonishingly excellent,” that “his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” and that

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

 

 

REALLY

 

 

I can only surmise that Trumpdoc got his medical degree from an ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine and/or did his residency at the  Donald Trump College Of Speculative Real Estate And Hyperbolic Medical Transcription.

I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever…Real Doctors ®  do not talk that way, nor do they write that way. Also, Real Doctors can be in danger of losing their medical license for making pronouncements on/diagnoses for patients they have not examined (Trumpdoc has examined all past presidents and so he can claim that Trump would be the fittest of the lot?).

Also also, Real Doctors, including neurosurgeon and media medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta, have pointed out the absurdity and questioned the veracity of the claims made in the trumpdoc statement  [3]  (which can be read in its barking-mad entirety here).

Did anybody notice, when that statement was first read aloud to the media, was the increasingly-wearing-the-expression-of-a-lonely-basset-hound Governor Chris “why doesn’t anybody like me?” Christie present, and were his lips moving?

 

christie

I’m not a medical doctor but y’all know where my head’s been since the primaries, and I can testify that Trump has the most astonishingly clean colon ever!

*   *   *

Department Of Non Sequitur Segue

 

What is water?

Describe/define it to me, or yourself. Yeah yeah, we all  know the H-2-O formula…but…what is it, really? How do we define this thing that literally defines our lives?

Please use the honor system here – no cheating. That is, no Wiki-ing or Googling or even dictionary-ing. How would you explain water, to, say, an alien from the water-free planet Tiddledick[4]

 

water

Ah, sweet mystery of life….

*   *   *

Department Of Happy Birthday Month

MH and I celebrated his birthday Saturday by attending a concert given by the Punch Brothers, held at the Penner-Ash Winery. Although pleased to hear MH declare it the best concert he’d ever been to, I was somewhat chagrined in that I held a similar opinion…and now I feel like I’ve been spoiled for any other venue.

A tree-studded hilltop overlooking the scenic Yamhill Valley, a simple stage under a magnificent, beautiful, starry summer’s sky…extraordinary music [5] and food and wine. I feel silly using adjectives like magical, but the evening truly was exquisite. I wish the grounds of the winery would be used on a regular basis for concerts (at least during the non-rainy months), but apparently ’tis for special-events-only (this one a benefit for the Children’s Cancer Association).  MH put us the winery’s mailing list, and I have vowed to attend any other benefit concert [6] held at that venue.

 

 

pennerash

 

 

To continue the celebration of MH’s birthday, and of the fact that Belle is home for a few days before college starts up again and thus both his offspring are within hugging distance, MH invited friends to join us as our guests for dinner at what has become our Wednesday night hangout, McMenamin’s Rock Creek Tavern a brewpub in the hills north of us, which on Wednesdays is home to singer-songwriter-guitarist Billy D.

I’m glad that MH is continuing the celebration of his birthday month. He thanked me for introducing him to that concept; I in turn must thank friend LAH for the same. If you haven’t yet run across this idea, you may then thank me for passing it along to you.

It’s like this: people over age 40 are entitled to an entire birthday month. You may choose your birthday month as being the entire month in which the date of your birthday falls (e.g., MH’s birthday month would be August), or you may say that your birthday month will consist of a month from the date of your birthday (in this example, MH’s birthday month would be August 20 – September 20).

Ever had a friend or colleague wish you a belated birthday and wistfully or sheepishly go on to tell how they wanted to take you out to lunch but you were already booked on your special day? Now you can call birthday month! and assuage their guilt as you explain how you are in fact available to attend lunches and parties in your honor for the next three weeks.  They’ll thank you for it…when their birthday rolls around.

 

birthday

She’s gonna come back every day for a month and expect us to serenade her? Señora mayor loca.

*   *   *

 

May you tell the truth so as not to have to over-exaggerate your cover story;
May you be able to legitimately claim to be the healthiest individual in the history of history;
May you remember that you are entitled to an entire birthday month;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Insert your favorite euphemism for speedo.  I am also partial to, Scrot Tote.

[2] Although I’d pay good money to have been a fly on the wall in the audio-animatronics lab that put the final touches on the realistic flesh tone covering for the Dick Cheney android.

[3] Why, do tell, would a man with “astonishingly excellent” lab results be taking a statin?

[4] Yes, SCM, that name is for you.

[5] First time either MH or I have hung around after a concert to compliment the sound crew. Five musicians sharing one microphone, and the sound quality was excellent.

[6] Within reason. I mean, if it’s a benefit concert to raise money for Ryan Lochte’s humility transplant…I’m not down with the idea of supporting hopeless causes.

The Butt I’m Not Holding Onto

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Department Of Message Received

 

Hold on to your butts, indeed. Apparently, the DOTUS [1] is running for POTUS.

Trump is a racist demagogue, a narcissistic pathological liar, a treason-baiting mocker of other’s sacrifices, a tin-plated orangutan-haired would-be autocrat with delusions of personhood….

Yep. Gotcha.

Message received.  Over and over and over.

Y’all are cheering to the pep squad in this matter. I really don’t think critical votes in the upcoming presidential election will be swayed, one way or another, by someone reading the latest

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT TRUMP SAID!!!

HAS TRUMP GONE TOO FAR !?!?!?!?!?!

link on your Facebook page.

If you think that The Donald is a Dick is breaking news, you might want to brace yourself for the following alert:

 Cigarette smoking linked to lung disease !!!!!

Can we go back to cat videos and sloth pix, please?

More of me is good for you!

More of me is good for you!

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Should Have Stopped Watching Right After Her Acceptance Speech.

Dateline: last week, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s acceptance speech. In the space of 20 minutes I went from cautious/cynical optimism to being won over by the power of the moment. I couldn’t believe, after all the excellent speakers she had to follow (Michelle Obama, Corey Booker, the POTUS, Joe Biden, her own daughter….), that HRC, know for policy fine points rather than rhetorical charisma, would rise to the occasion.  But she did. She made her case, confidently, powerfully, compassionately.  And then…

I should have known better. After watching the rousing 7th game of the World Series in which the team you’re rooting for wins in the bottom of the ninth when the team’s catcher, not known for his speed, hits a triple and then steals home…you do your version of the Happy Dance ® and then turn off the TV. You don’t need [2] to hear overpaid and under-educated color commentators explaining that you just saw an amazing play…or trying to convince you that it wasn’t as exciting as you thought.

I forgot. I left the TV on. MH was still watching… I puttered around the kitchen, and couldn’t help but hear the background noise of the talking heads of the media. Even those on NPR who Should Have Known Better ®  had to weigh in:

* But still, what does the most unknown known person have to tell the American people?

* How can voters get to know “the real” Hillary, as her friends do, etc., how can the real, personal candidate be portrayed….

And I find moiself screaming to moiself,

WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!?!?

I guess this – me resorting to the all-caps mode – is evidence that The Terrorists Have Won ® . But when – oh, like NEVER – is this asked of any other (read: male) candidate?  Why do we need to know the “real, personal” Hillary? She’s running for POTUS, not for your junior high school BFF.

 

 

you like me

 

 

 

 

So much for history. Yeah, we’ve finally [3]  nominated a female person for head of state, but it is pathetically obvious that our country is still, sadly but resolutely, shackled to antiquated/sexist expectations of the past. Hillary Clinton has got to be “known,” and “likeable,” and “personal,” whereas our male candidates…well, we just want to know that, maybe, they aren’t (currently active) serial killers.

One friend [4] responded thusly to my tirade, with wise concepts I shall try to put into practice:

I know. I share that rant big time. But now a big deep breath and I will do my best to be thankful for progress. No matter how absurd the inequalities are that remain. Ohmmmm.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Yeah What She Said

 

 “When I look at the idea that life sucks and I have to deal with it as best I can, and compare it with the idea that an immensely powerful being is fucking with me on purpose and won’t tell me why, I find the first idea far more comforting.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen

*   *   *

Department Of Dealing With Things The Best You Can

If you don’t know about the Foundation Beyond Belief,  you should. FBB is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion through charitable donation programs, sponsoring volunteer programs and disaster recovery programs.

By making one time or regular donations, I am able to set up a donor profile indicating how I would like my contribution spread among beneficiary organizations in each of the following “cause” areas:

*Education
*Poverty and Health
*Human Rights
*The Natural World
* Challenge the Gap (charities based in other worldviews)

 

 

 

foundationpng

 

 

Each quarter the FBB’s Humanist Giving staff selects five charitable organizations to serve as Quarterly Beneficiaries, one for each of the cause areas. Donors such as moiself can then review the organizations and decide how we’d like to distribute our donation (e.g. 20% to each, or 100% to one…) however we choose, depending on our interest in the specific causes and organizations. [5]

FBB’s featured beneficiaries are “…carefully selected for impact and efficiency,” and are all secular organizations (with the exception of Challenge the Gap, which features non-proselytizing organizations based in other worldviews). At the end of each quarter, all donations designated for FBB’s featured charities are forwarded to those charities (no percentage is retained for administrative costs), and a new slate of beneficiaries is selected.

 

*   *   *

invasion force

 

Our neighbors should be on the lookout for a drive-by fruiting, since we need to get rid of distribute what MH refers to as “the invasion force.”

Translation: The pear tree Belle bought with her own allowance and birthday money, all those many years ago, is in full, bloomin’ swing. Like our raspberries and blueberries, and like most fruits around here, the harvest is coming much earlier this year .

 

 

Can you say global warming, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Can you say global warming, boys and girls? I knew you could.

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

Yet Another Important Detail

I must make an addendum to Robyn and MH Have Left the Building [6] , our notebook of what-to-do-when-we-die instructions for our family. I recently realized that I’d neglected to document an important aspect of my memorial service:  I want the first all whoopee cushion funeral. Every seat in the memorial hall/auditorium/junior high girls’ locker room or whatever venue is to be outfitted with a whoopee cushion, hopefully of varying sizes and, uh, tonal quality. Attendees will be given instructions as to how to end the service with a rousing cheer for the dearly departed.

 

 

 

why settle for this...

why settle for this…

 

 

 

...when you can have this instead?

…when you can have this instead?

 

 

 

*   *   *

May you enjoy the fruits of summer;
May the talking heads leave you in peace;
May you deal with things the best you can;
May you plan your own whoopee-worthy memorial service;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Demagogue of The United States.

[2] Well, maybe you do, but I don’t.

[3] After over 40 other countries beat us to it. So much for our “Leader of the Free World” braggadocio.

[4] ¡Muchisimas gracias, mi amiga, CC!

[5] I’m currently doing an even distribution, although my interests tend toward the Human Rights and Natural World categories and, in the past, have tended to “skew upwards” as per my donation percentages, to those causes.

[6] since plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, I proudly note that I stole that title from the lovely and talented Karl Wiegers).

The Fish I’m Not Smelling

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Department Of Fish And Visitors Stink After Three Days,
Except When They Don’t

 

There are some people…when you see them it’s like you’ve seen them yesterday…even though it’s been too many yesterdays since you’ve in fact seen them.

 

 

iknowwhatyoumwan

 

 

MH and I were fortunate enough to have such people visit us this week.  The lovely and talented LW and her equally lovely and talented husband, SB, were making a road trip from the Bay Area to the Puget Sound, and stayed with us Monday – Thursday. Not once did I think of stinky fish; just good time with dear friends.

LW, a buddy o’ mine since our apartment-mate days at UC Davis, has steadfastly remained one of the more intelligent, witty, creative people I’ve had the pleasure to know.  Important Sidebar ® : If you are interested in social justice via political activism, [1] LW’s husbo is one of the more effective bloggers – as in, one whose advocacy and research has prompted real change – in that sphere (you can check him out, at Spocko’s Brain ).

It was fun cooking and eating with them, picking berries, “playing” and just hanging out/catching up. We spent a day in the Alberta Street Arts district in Portland, where we were, of course, treated to many sights and sounds that were oh-so-Portlandia. Being longtime San Francisco residents, LW & SB are on familiar terms with many if not all things hipster, and are also wise to the up and down sides of gentrification…which made the street art/op-ed we encountered all the more appreciated.

 

 

strteetart

*   *   *

Department Of Cliché But True

 

Like many creative people who are also thoughtful, decent human beings, artist Helen Honer finds non-verbal ways to express the inexpressible, most recently re the Orlando mass shooting. This painting of hers, which she described as “trying to calmly express my sorrow,” struck me as both simple and profound, calming and elegiac. One picture that is truly worth a thousand…you know.

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Just Don’t Fucking Get It

Okay, I’m totally sincere, here: I would love to hear from an articulate, rational Republican re so many issues, mostly about their party’s presumptive nominee.  But, are there any (rational Republicans) left at this point?

 

 

confused lady

Was that a The Onion headline I just read, or something a Republican actually said?

 

Look; I have my beef [2] with the Dems, too. I moiself only register for any political party during primary season – depending on if I want to vote for – or against a particular party’s nominee – then change my registration back to  independent/no affiliation status.  I seriously loathe the whole political party identification thing, and strive not to judge someone/assume their opinions based on their political affiliation.

Still…I want to know what kind of political party, from its leaders and major players down to the rank and file members, say, over and over , that Trump’s comments are offensive and racist and just plain wrong but yes, they will still support him for POTUS?

If for whatever reasons you just can’t bring yourself to vote for the Other Guy ® , can you at least have the personal integrity to sit this one out?

 

*   *   *

Department Of How Can I Be The Most Special Snowflake In The Room
When Every Snowflake Is Special?

 

The latest entry: nonbinary gender.

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Now I’m Depressing Myself So It Must Be Time For A Happy Topic ®

 

There Are Pancake People, And There Are Not Pancake People.

 

Well? Are you, or aren't you?

Well? Are you, or aren’t you?

 

I am (or was) in the latter category, until the afore-mentioned visit of LW & SB. Tuesday eve LW and I were talking about my culinary adventures with sourdough starter.  [3]  In the past few years LW and her hubs been cooking and eating in a vegan/plant-based way, [4]  which inspired me to concoct a  vegan-friendly sourdough pancake batter to serve as yet another transport medium for our copious crop of homegrown blueberries.

Mission accomplished.

There aren’t enough swear words – the kind you use when you taste something so delicious, non-profane superlatives just won’t’ do – to adequately describe the yummers factor here.

And I’m going to share it, with you, for free. [5]

 

HFFSMTTBPEATVSWKICBD   [6]
aka Vega-licious Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Pancakes ( makes ~ 16 small)

Start this batter the night before you intend to serve it for breakfast (or in the morning, if you want pancakes later for dinner)

– 100g  sourdough starter
– 200g  oat & white whole wheat flour (about half; i.e. 100g, of each)
– 1 ½ c spring water, * more or less
– 2T brown rice syrup (or maple syrup or agave syrup) **
– heaping ½ t ground cinnamon; and scant ½ t sea salt
–  ½ t vanilla extract
– grated zest of half of a small lemon

– 1t baking powder + ¼ t baking soda.
blueberries ! A good handful
– REAL maple syrup, for serving

– your favorite neutral oil *** for cooking

Directions

Any questions?

Any questions?

I’ll try that again.

Directions

Whisk the sourdough starter in a ceramic or glass mixing bowl with half of the water, then add in the remaining ingredients – except for the baking powder & soda & berries – whisking as you go and adding enough of the remaining water until you get a smooth batter (you may use more or less water than indicated in the recipe, depending on what kind of flours you use and the “wetness” of your starter).

Cover the batter bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, making sure there is at least one hole or gap so the batter can “breathe.” That’s it for now. Sweet dreams; walk away and enjoy yourself for ~8 – 12 hours or overnight (do not refrigerate the batter).

When ready to cook the pancakes, heat a cast iron griddle (or several cast iron pans) over medium-high heat, for several minutes.  While the griddle is heating (griddle must be verrrrry hot, or the pancakes will stick), mix the baking powder & soda in a small bowl with a small amount of water (a scant T) and whisk it into the batter, along with the blueberries

When the griddle is really hot **** , lightly grease it with the oil of your choice (lightly reoil griddle when/if necessary, between batches.). Using a ~ ¼ c scoop or ladle…well, you know how to cook pancakes, right?

 

* do not use tap or distilled water when working with sourdough starter.
** maple or agave syrup will give you a sweeter batter, so reduce the amount…or not, depending on the strength of your sweet tooth
*** “neutral” used here does not refer to your oil’s aversion to getting involved in geopolitics; rather, a neutral oil but as in grapeseed, peanut, canola, or safflower oil – the kind of oil you use when you don’t want the oil to add its own flavor to your dish. [7] 
**** hot enough so that drops of water flung on its surface do the Ow wow ow  ow – that’s hot! dance

 

 

 

In all of my numerous reincarnations these are the best goddessdam pancakes in the world.

In all of my numerous reincarnations these are the best goddessdam pancakes in the world.

 

 

 

*   *   *

May you find a picture which evokes a thousand words of comfort;
May you have the opportunity to be gob-smacked by your own culinary creation;
May you have the courage and integrity to sit this one out when necessary;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] And if you’re not, WTF is wrong with you?

[2] Or its plant-based/vegan equivalent.

[3]  And you would be too, if you were a guest in my home. It’s required as per a local ordinance.

[4] Although LW changed her nutritional lifestyle for health and not cosmetic reasons, she is, like, radiant, and back to her high school weight and looking Fucking Fabulous, if I may say so (and I just did).

[5]  If you want to send me money or any other form of compensation (stocks, T bonds, your offspring’s soccer trophies….), leave a message.

[6] Holy Fucking Flying Spaghetti Monster These Are The Best Pancakes Ever And They’re Vegan-Safe, Who Knew It Could Be Done?

[7] I.E. not olive oil and definitely not sesame oil.

The Syllables I’m Not Pronouncing

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They’re Baaaaaaaaack

The FBFD, that is: Former Boyfriend Dreams.

FBFD are dreams in which former boyfriends of mine have significant co-starring roles, or sometimes just make cameo appearances.

Some of my FBFD are “historical-realistic; i.e., they take place within the time frame when I knew the particular FBF who appears in the dream. Other FBFD take place in present (or near future) scenarios, with or without my current family members as part of the cast.

My brain concocts FBFD under certain circumstances of which I am aware, and, I assume, for other reasons effervescing in my subconscious. FBFD as seem to occur during certain Life Passage ® moments; e.g., when I’ve started a new project or am stuck on an old one, or find myself flustered by the passage of time and reflecting on roads not taken and the like.

Sometimes I wonder if other people experience the equivalent of FBFD. [1] I used to think that they must, but then I rarely see FBFD mentioned in lists of most common themes in adult dreams, which usually include

* Falling

* Showing up to school/work/a job interview naked

* Teeth falling out

* Missing a school exam and/or taking a test for which you are totally unprepared

* Flying

* Being chased by someone or some thing

* Showing up late for an important event

All of the scenarios listed above have made frequent appearances in my dreams. [2]  But I’ve yet to see FBFD on anyone else’s dream-theme list. Just wondering.

 

 

follow your dreams

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Since Someone Recently Asked

Sometimes, very rarely, [3] I am asked to “explain” my views as a Humanist/Freethinker/Bright/Atheist, or describe how my views evolved  [4]  from my religious upbringing.

I can, when prompted, offer an articulate exllanation. However, as per the timeworn trope, a picture speaks louder than words.

 

what religious people see

*   *   *

Department Of Not Exactly OCD

 

But a quirk of mine, nonetheless:

I don’t like it when people pronounce all four syllables of the word, comfortable.

Don’t they know, it’s not kuhm-fer-tuh-buhl, it’s kumf-ter-bull.

BFD, right?  I am almost ashamed to admit that I’ve actually argued with people over this.

 

 

siriusly

 

 

Yes, seriously.

I know: the four-syllable com-for-ta-ble way is the correct way to pronounce the word, no matter how snooty or Masterpiece Theatre-ish it sounds to moiself. But there are a whole lotta us commoners who use the shortcut. Thus, for the sake of linguistic harmony and world peace, I think we all should switch to using comfy, the pronunciation of which is fairly standard.

 

 

*   *   *

Terrorist Night Club Shooting; Alligator Baby Snatching….
Department Of Fun Times In Orlando This Week

 

On second thought, no comment.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Changing The Subject

In my blog post of  July 24, 2015 (an elephant’s memory ain’t got nothing on me), I mentioned one of the few advantage so of having a birthday close to Christmas: getting multiple gift checks – which is what we aging children get from our parents – at or near the same time.

That particular advantage can (possibly only) be appreciated from an adult’s POV. As a kid, having a birthday on or near a holiday can be…shall we say…inopportune. [5]  I was reminded of this recently when I had to provide my birth date on An Official Form Of Some Sort ®, which caused the Form Reader to commiserate, “How awful it is to have a birthday so close to Christmas – yours is even worse than mine!”

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, my parents suggested that our family celebrate my birthday on my half-birthday, June 16, in order to offset the fact that my actual birthday, December 16, seemed to get short-shrifted in the Christmas brouhaha.

My parents always tried to insure that my birthday was as special and stand-alone important as anyone else’s, and not just one-more-thing-to-have-to-do during the holiday season. They never, not once, gave me a present with the preamble, This is for your birthday and Christmas. Also, while my relatives’ and friends’ birthday gifts to moiself were usually presented in Christmas themed boxes, my parents’ gifts were always wrapped in birthday paper, and our family’s Christmas tree was not put up until the day after my birthday. Little things, sure, but the intention – which I recognized and appreciated – was to make sure my birthday wasn’t lost in the holiday shuffle.

However, the first time my parents suggested that I might want to move my birthday celebration to June elicited the kind of self-righteous retort only an eight year old can muster: You should have thought of that when you decided to have me in December!” [6]

As for the gift thing: I learned at a young age to stifle my instinctive riposte to the standard excuse  comment from those who thought the best way to deal with my “inconvenient” birthday  [7] was to convince me that theirs was a combo gift:

Faux Enthusiastic Gift-Giver:  This is for your birthday and Christmas!
Moi Smartass Self: Well then, it better have cost twice as much!

 

 

xmasbday

 

*   *   *

Department Of While I’m On The Subject Of Family Celebrations

Last month (May 22), would have been my parents’ 63rd wedding anniversary.

I’ve had the good fortune to know widowed spouses who truly cherish talking about their deceased partners – they treasure the memories and stories that keep their loved one “alive” for them in the present. I’d hoped that my mother would reach that place, eventually.

As I have previously noted in this blog, my father died seven years ago, a fact my elderly, physically and mentally frail mother often…which has evolved into almost always…forgets.

My mother’s present day circumstances are not pleasant, in many ways. She is geographically comfortable, [8] but physically, cognitively and emotionally feeble. Of particular annoyance, embarrassment and pain to her (and to moiself and my siblings) is the fact that the one thing she is consistently aware of is her forgetfulness: she knows that she cannot be sure of what she knows or does not know.  [9] Thus, the life that she cherishes [10] is in the past…but I can’t even go there in telephone conversations, because of what it may trigger.

There have been rare moments, these past seven years, when she’s mentioned my father without the fear/guilt/ agony of bereavement. But I always have to let her take the initiative re mentioning him…and when she does, 99.94 % of the time, it’s not good.  [11]

I wish that I could have talked to her about the date last month. I wish I could have shared stories: Remember when we (their children) surprised you on your 25th anniversary, and Chet posed with the loving cup trophy we bought for you….

But that was then and this is now. And, as Compassionate Communication With The Memory Impaired reminds me, memory impairment is a disability.  Reminders are rarely kind. They tell the patient how disabled they are – over and over again. Reminders of the recent past imply, “I remember; I’m okay; you don’t; you’re not.” Refer only to the present or the future.

 

 

Chet anniversary

*   *   *

May your life reminders bring you comfort and not anxiety;
May friends former and present be kind (or at least entertaining) agents in your dreams;
May you be comfy in your pronunciations of choice;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Well, do you?

[2] I like my flying dreams the best. I have epic flying dreams.

[3] People who know me and “approve” or agree with or are neutral (or couldn’t give a flying squirrel’s ass)  re my worldview don’t ask. Family and others who disagree and/or don’t approve have learned not to ask.

[4] Most (not all) religious people don’t use that word.

[5] Or just plain suck.

[6] I was not quite cognizant of the fact that my parents did not “decide to have me” at any certain date.

[7] Mostly adult relatives who used this term. This should be a no-brainer, but folks, never tell a child their birthday is “inconvenient.”

[8] Able, so far, to stay in her home – which is her resolutely expressed desire, no matter the emotional and financial detriment to others – with 24/7 care, arranged for and supervised by her children.

[9] I’ve learned the hard way never to go on autopilot and do the how are you? greeting, as she does not like to answer the question. “Well, I’m still here,” is her most optimistic (t) answer.

[10] And often re-writes to make it more cherish-able

[11] She wonders where he is, why he left her (as in, deserted her – she doesn’t remember he died), and why he and we (her adult children) are hiding this information from her?

The Genome I’m Not Sequencing

2 Comments

 

And, BTW, neither are you, even if you’ve forked over $199 to 23and Me, Family Tree, and/or the various other genetic testing organizations you can find online. Because…Science. Because…for reasons I’ll get to, soon. But first

 

 

No, not butt first....

No, not butt first….

 

 …a bit of background/digression.

*   *   *

Department Of We Hoped She Was “Just” French

I have a curious (to some people, myself included) lack of interest in my genetic family tree. More curious to me than knowing all about those who have occupied the various limbs of my family tree – aka, blood kin – is my lack of curiosity about the subject.

For whatever reasons, my bloodlines have never mattered much to moiself, in terms of my own self definition/image/worth, and also in terms of other bipeds whom I find interesting and acquaintance-worthy. [1]  Even so, I fully acknowledge, if not fully understand, the existence of a desire which motivates people to research their genetic history via ventures that, IMHO, run the spectrum from harmless interest to absorbing hobby to batshit bonkers obsession.

A recent casual comment made by someone who’d used one of the afore-mentioned DNA testing services testing made me realize I knew little of what the testing companies offer. I felt a brief…gasp…curiosity, re both the process of such testing, and the results. Could genome sequencing possibly shed light on a family mystery regarding a paternal ancestor? Specifically, a Chickasaw or Cherokee [2] who married into the Irish Parnells and whose new family tried to “pass” her (or him) off as white.

 

 Looks like someone else had a story to tell?

Looks like someone else had a story to tell?

 

 

 

Excuse my detour through what I feel compelled [3] to call The History of the Mystery.

From about age four onward – once I got over my blond phase – I heard, at irregular intervals, mildly teasing comments from both family and friends about my “Indian features,” which were attributed by family members to a Native American antecedent on my father’s maternal side of the family

I can’t remember how old I was when my father had told me there was a Cherokee or Chickasaw ancestor on his mother’s side. He also told me he couldn’t remember whether it was his mother’s great grandfather or mother, and that the family records on such matters were scanty and unreliable for many reasons, including the fact that “… people back then changed names and information they thought was embarrassing.”

 

 

Age three or four, as I was transitioning to my true hair color. Fortunately, no need for a separate bathroom.

Age three or four. I was transitioning to my true hair color. Fortunately, no need for a separate bathroom.

 

 

 

The she looks Indian comments became more frequent during my high school years, particularly when I wore my long hair in two braids. The observations didn’t impress me or make me think I was in some way cool or hip (I did not buy into the White People Think It’s Cool To Have Native American Ancestry mentality that seemed to flourish in the late 60s-70s), nor did they bother me. I mostly attributed the remarks to the general lack of imagination (long dark braided hair = Injun, Ke-mo sah-bee!) in what passed for humor [4] amongst my peers. And then, my maternal grandmother, “Bapa,” chimed in, one afternoon during my freshman year of high school.

According to Bapa, my Native American heritage from a great great grandparent  [5] was scant, yet evident enough that Bapa’s friend gave Bapa a warning. Friend of Bapa  advised Bapa to take down the framed picture of me Bapa had on her coffee table, because said picture emphasized my “Indian-features.”

 

REALLY

 

 

Yes, really.

Bapa laughed conspiratorially when she told me what her friend had said. I laughed in turn, then asked Bapa what she knew about the possible Indian-featured member of my family. “Oh, well,” Bapa sighed, “There isn’t much to know.” [6]

A few years after Bapa’s youngest child (my mother) was married (to my father) it was somehow revealed to Bapa [7] that there was Indian blood on my father’s side of the family (“It doesn’t show in your father, but you can tell by looking at pictures of his mother.”)[8] It was an Indian woman, Bapa thought, although one of my father’s sisters had tried to reassure the family that the ancestor was “maybe just French.”

I was able to question my father’s youngest sister (keeper of the family tree information) about our Native antecedent only once before she died  [9] . She said, in that lovely Tennessee twang of hers and totally sans tongue in cheek, that she’d “…heard from a reliable source that the story was unreliable.”  [10].  She then made a funny face, lowered her voice said that, yes, her Mama had once admitted to having some Indian blood “back there,” maybe Cherokee but “most likely” Chickasaw, but that “we were thinking” (the tone of her voice implied, we were hoping) “it wasn’t Indian,  just French.”

 

 

 

 

No, please, anyone but the French....

No, please, anyone but the French….

*   *   *

We Now Return You To Our Regular Scheduled Babbling Programming

 

I checked out a couple of genetic testing sites, and almost immediately lost interest when I read their come-on tags – teasers meant to exploit our culture’s wide-ranging celebrity obsession (Could you be related to someone famous?).

 

 

avengerstreejpg

 

Further interest was lost via having some of my concerns about the prematurity of the science of genetic testing confirmed when I listened to a recent StarTalk podcast.

The Promise and Peril of the Genomic Revolution is a fascinating interview with both a researcher in the field of genetic testing – bioethicist Robert Kitzman – and also someone trying to profit by popularize the testing among the non-scientifically inclined public – Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of the genetic testing company 23andMe .

You are made of cells. And the cells in your body have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Your chromosomes are made of DNA, which can tell you a lot about you. Explore your 23 pairs today. 
Find out what your 23 pairs of chromosomes can tell you.
(from www.23andMe.com )

 

Wojcicki, of course, wants you to use her services, and thus touts how such testing is “empowering individuals to take more control of their own healthcare and to benefit from increased understanding of their own genome.”

Except that no genetic testing company allows you to sequence your entire genome, nor even come close to “understanding” it.  Dr. Kitzman brought up the seemingly little-known (amongst the scientific laity) yet major point that people who contract the services of genetic testing companies mistakenly think they are getting their entire genome sequenced.  

Another concern…there are 3 billion letters (in a human genome). 23andMe is not looking at all 3 billion letters. What they’re doing is looking at one out of every several hundred thousand letters. Imagine a wall of books…what they’re doing is saying we’re going to take one book, we’re going to give you the first letter on every three pages. So the first letter is A, three pages letter the first book is a C, three pages later the first letter is T…you don’t know what kind of book you’re reading… What 23andme is now doing is just giving you one one-thousandth of the information that’s there, so there are going to be false positives, false negatives, there are going to be problems understanding it….”
( Robert Kitzman, StarTalk, 4-29-16 )

The literary analogy: well, then. What do you have, and how can you tell? Are you previewing Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking? A surah from the Koran? A Quentin Tarentino script (no, lawdy, take me now)?

As to such testing’s application to healthcare  [11] : the science, while amazing, is still in its relative infancy, and, as the podcast warns, there are real and serious “…limitations of what we do and don’t know at this very early stage in what is proving to be a much more complicated process than we used to believe.” Given the dangers of false positives and false negatives, tread lightly, y’all.

So. Having my genome sequenced, for whatever reason? I’m not ruling it out; perhaps, Someday For Some Reason ®. But for now, I’ll be content with letting that Cagey Chickasaw Chick – I mean of course, Furtive French Femme – lurk in the not-too-far-distant background. Or, my braids, if I ever have them again.  [12]

 

 

cclown

*   *   *

Department Of Moments That Scream, Inspiration

I recently finished reading a book about the history of Los Angeles punk rock. The book is composed of twenty-four chapter length stories and essays about the infamous west coast scene (circa 1977-1982) by ~ fifteen narrators/participants of that era. I came away from the read with three impressions:

(1) I found it appropriate that the book’s chapters were as varied (read: uneven) in competency and coherency of their prose as the punk bands described therein were as per their musical talent and artistic vision.

(2) Vying for Best Musical Trivia Ever ®  is the following passage from the book, on how the band The Germs got their name:

They were proudly wearing their new mustard-yellow band T-shirts, emblazoned in velvet iron-on letters GERMS. The shirts had been made at a store where they charged by the letter, and their first choice of band name, Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens, simply wasn’t affordable.
(Chapter 5, Under The Big Black Sun: A Personal History of LA Punk )

(3) There is no impression #3.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Combinations That Call For Consuming Anti-Vertigo Medications

After finishing When Breath Becomes Air, the profoundly moving memoir of a young physician’s journey into what-makes-life-worth-living-and-what-the-heck-is-life-anyway territory after he receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, I couldn’t start another book for several weeks. Then when I did, I ping-ponged between the afore-mentioned expository of the LA Punk Scene and Secular Meditation: 32 Practices For Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, And Joy.

 

 

punkmeditation

 

 

 

*   *   *

May you be able to include Spam when naming some venture in your life; [13]  
May that blip on your genome turn out to be just French,
and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] I’m not going to be predisposed to like a person, or find them more or less interesting or valuable, just because we are supposedly “related.”

[2] Chickasaw or Cherokee – I’ve heard/read different attributions.

[3] By the spirit of the love child of Jesse Jackson and Johnnie Cochrane.

[4] I never took the comments to be insulting, regardless of the commenter’s true intentions. One time there was an implied derogation:  a friend (who had a German last name) called me squaw, as if flinging an epithet. I informed him of the origins of his surname and called him a Nazi. Ah, the compassionate maturity of youth.

[5] Or more…not sure how many great-greatss, as the available family tree info is less than helpful.

[6] Despite her protestations, she’d obviously known enough of something to tell a friend about it.

[7] Bapa was sketchy on details, and like the rest of my family’s older generation, was reluctant to talk about it.

[8] Make that picture, singular. Like the rest of our family, Bapa had seen only one picture of my father’s mother: a tiny, grainy shot of my father’s mother and father and their brood, lined up against their ramshackle tenant farmer’s shack. I don’t know how you could “tell” anything from that picture, except that my father’s mother was a poor farm woman who had too many children.

[9] So difficult to get those pesky dead people to cough up any details.

[10] Mere words cannot describe how much I loved her phrasing, nor how difficult it was to keep a straight face when she said that.

[11] The more nobler excuse/rationale for such testing, versus the self-aggrandizing, gossipy Find Out If You’re Related To Royalty! ego-appeals.

[12] The pix is of from my high school’s senior award for Campus Clown. I am biting down on a doll’s arm, which I found at the beach the summer before my senior year and then wore on a chain around my neck for the rest of the year…because I could.

[13] As long as that venture isn’t a child.

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