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The (insert your organization’s name here) Of The Year Award I’m Not Winning

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Department Of A Rhetorical Question Which Is Going To Be Answered

Dateline: Sunday morning, returning from walk, listening to The Go-Go’s album,  Talk Show.  It’s one of my faves, except for the chorus of the song, Forget That Day. The song’s narrator laments what seems to be a tryst at a no-tell motel, with a lover who is already involved with someone else.  In the chorus, she laments the consequences…over and over and over….

♫  Why’d you say you loved me
That day, that day
When you knew you wouldn’t have me on
This day, this day…

What do you mean *why?*

Because it worked. Because he wanted you to fuck him, and you did.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of The Best Kind Of Spam Call

MH called me into his work-at-home office. When I entered the room to find out what had put the impish lilt in his voice, he held up his cellphone for me to see the caller ID for the call he’d just received (but did not answer).  “I knew you’d like this,” he said, when moiself  raised my hands with gratitude to unknown cosmic pranksters when I beheld the call’s destination:

Unknown
Athol, Maine

Hopefully, fans of the romcom Made of Honor will also one day have the opportunity to say that you got a call from some anonymous athol.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Well, There Goes My Award

Dateline: Tuesday, noonish.  MH comes downstairs, holding his phone, with yet another bit o’ impishness about him – this time, in his expression.

“What?” I ask him.

“Did you hear that Richard Dawkins got his Humanist of the Year Award taken away?” he says.

I didn’t even know that Richard Dawkins – evolutionary biologist, author, professor, atheist activist, religion-and-supernatural-thinking debunker, and equal opportunity offender when it comes to towing *any* group’s party line – had even received a Humanist of the Year Award…but him being bestowed with that title wouldn’t surprise me. I knew Dawkins had received the prized, “The Emperor Has No Clothes” award from the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation), as well as a variety of other accolades for his advocacy of science and critical thinking. 

“No, I didn’t,” I replied.  “Why was it taken away – wait; let me guess.  He said something ‘offensive’?”

“It was taken away for, ‘transphobia.’ ” MH scrolled through the news feed he was reading.  “Something he tweeted.”

“Oh dear,” I giggled.  “Did someone get their trannie panties in a knot?”

 

 

*   *   *

Department So Of Course I Got Curious

Moiself got to be wondering: when was the award given, and when and what did Dawkins tweet? The answers were just a google search away.

The award was given in – holy crap – 1996?  Twenty-five years ago?  Yeah, he’s gonna be missing that…certificate…trophy…framed plaque…engraved toaster, or whatever prize is bestowed upon a Humanist of The Year.

“Mr. Dawkins sparked a backlash on Twitter after he tweeted on April 10: ‘In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.’

Several hours later, Mr. Dawkins clarified he was asking the question for academic purposes and not stating his own opinion on the matter.

‘I do not intend to disparage trans people,’ he wrote. ‘I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.’ ”
( “Richard Dawkins loses ‘Humanist of the Year’ award after comparing trans people to Rachel Dolezal,”
The Washington Times, 4-20-21 )

Okey-dokey. So: Dawkins didn’t call anyone names; he didn’t call for anyone to be marginalized or vilified. He merely stated several verifiable historical, biological, cultural and social commentary data:

  1. In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black.
  2. Some men choose to identify as women.
  3. Some women choose to identify as men.
  4. You will be vilified if you deny that they (the men and women in points B and C) literally are what they identify as.

Richard Dawkins is a scientist.  He views the world, even the “social constructs” of the culture wars, through the lens of scientific critique and investigation.  Here is another thing he said, in 2015 when the Rachel Dolezal brouhaha was going on:

Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic.
If you define by chromosomes, no. If by self-identification, yes.
I call her “she” out of courtesy.
(Richard Dawkins, @RichardDawkins, Oct 26, 2015 )

I call her she” out of courtesy (my emphases).  Whether you are a scientist or a sociologist or a dinner party guest, you call people what they want to be called; it’s a simple courtesy.  Dawkins reinforces that, by using the preferred pronouns a trans woman would use.  Were any of his critics paying attention?

In terms of the reaction to Ms. Dolezal, Dawkins stated the facts that had many people on the many sides of that wild rumpus wondering, “Wait a minute – how is this is this different from that?” (including moiself , who, deep down inside, identifies as Scarlett Johanssen, no matter what moiself looks like from the outside).

 

“Yeah, right – don’t drag me into this dumpster fire of an issue, bitch.”

Ahem.

Such questions ( “Can we talk about how or why this is, or is not, different from that?”)  can lead to illuminating dialogs.    [1]   Dialogs; you know, as in talking about the issues.  As in, “discussions.” 

Nope.  “Discuss” translates into – Dis-and-react.  As in (attempt to) shame, shout down, demonize,   [2]   and “cancel.”

It often seems that, in the censorious here and now, we cannot merely discuss any hot button topics.  This, regrettably, gives ammunition to those on “The Right” who say that “The Left” is composed of thin-skinned, self-righteous, free-speech fascists/crybabies who cannot abide the examination of their sacred cows without hiding behind the skirts of The Rhetoric of the Oppressed (“You offended me!  WAAAH!”). 

Dawkins, of course, should’ve expected this reaction.  Or, perhaps he anticipated it? He seems to enjoy putting the proverbial burr under the saddle – any rider’s saddle, including those of his own cavalry.

 

“Tell her she can stop right now with the horseback-riding metaphors, okay?”

 

Also, after decades of being threatened with the torments of hell by the (Christian) religious right for his pro-evolution/anti-creationism campaigns (Dawkins has likened the teaching of creationism in schools – which can be found hiding behind the rhetorical skirts of “intelligent design” – as “educational debauchery”), I don’t think Dawkins is going to lose any sleep over the retracted prize.

And so it is that I dust out the Asshat Of The Week award.  [3]   It seems fitting to give the award to The American Humanist Association, to dishonor their sanctimonious revocation of their 1996 award to Dawkins.  [4]

 

American Humanist Association, this Ass Hat is for you.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Everything Is Going To Be All Right, Trust Me

You know how some people contact a famous person and request birthday or other greetings for their friend, their elderly mother, a child dying of cancer, etc.?  Apparently, not all such requests are on the up-and-up, as Former Member of Parliament Nigel Farage discovered when he fell for a prank on a video-sharing app wherein fans pay celebrities to record personalized messages.

Serves him right, sez moiself.  Farage, a Brexit party leader , anti-semitic conspiracy theorist, right wing German anti-immigrant party supporter , long-time #45 defender and all-around enema bag, participates on this greetings-for-hire site (and reportedly charges £75 for each recording).  But money can’t buy a petty thrill as delightful as the one that comes from knowing that Farage’s petty greed and/or ego led to him being seen and heard around the viral world, wishing a happy birthday to a “Hugh Janus.”

“Happy birthday Hugh Janus, I’ve heard you’re a massive fan,” Farage said.

 

They also think it’s hilarious….and they don’t even speak English.

 

You can see the video here.

*   *   *

Department Of 7 Am Reflections On The Meaning Of Life ®

On a walk, blissfully solitary except for the early risers   [5]  taking their canine companions for a morning piss stroll, I find moiself  thinking,

Dogs are amiable, furry, quadrupedal structures enclosing gallon-sized bladders.

 

*   *   *

Pun For The Day

I keep asking wat LGBTQ stands for,
but I can never get a straight answer.    [6]

 

 

*   *   *

May Those Who Bestow Such Things ® have a helluva good reason before they take away your award;
May you refrain (sorry) from writing songs with stupid questions in their choruses;
May Mr. Hugh Janus record a birthday greeting for you;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

[1] If cool heads reign.

[2] Which is a failing strategy, when applied to an atheist.

[3] Which actually has not been bestowed, by moiself, in several years.

[4] Who will likely lose little sleep over the issue.  “Dawkins, 80, claimed that the loss of the award would have little practical effect on him because he had never used it. ‘Apparently the honour hadn’t meant enough to me to be worth recording in my CV,’ he said.”  (The Times)

[5] Now, why would you think there would be a footnote here?

[6] And the answer is “Let’s Get Bubble Tea Quickly.”

The Accordion I’m Not Throwing

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As we dive into the holiday season, that time of year when some members of the human race strive to hold charitable thoughts for all members of the human race, I can’t help but reflect upon the fact that my nutmeg grater resembles a Star Trek shuttlecraft. [1]

 

*   *   *

Chappy Chanukah [2]

Truly, the FSM has touched me with his noodly appendage. I felt his presence – what other possible, earthly explanation could there be for my good fortune? – while searching for Hanukah-themed bling décor for a friend’s upcoming party.  What unbridled joy, to stumble upon a holiday-themed kitchen gadget that incorporated one of my favorite words: [3]

Gentlemen and Ladies, start your latkes.

*   *   *

While We’re on the Holiday Theme:
Department of Not Passing the Holiday Breathalyzer Test

Fruitcake for the Holidays:  A Special Recipe  [4]

 

Ingredients:
– one cup each of water and white table sugar
– four large eggs
– two cups of dried fruit
– one teaspoon baking soda
– one teaspoon salt
– one cup brown sugar
– lemon juice
– nuts
– one bottle of whisky

Instructions:
Get out a large mixing bowl.   To ensure whiskey is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.   Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer; beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whisky is still okay.  Cry another tup.  Turn off the mixer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried furit.  Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets tuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity.  Next, sift two cups of salt.  Or something. Who cares?  Check the whisky.  Now sift the lemon juice and strain the nuts.  Add one table.  Spoon.  Of sugar or something.  Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven.  Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.  Don’t forget to beat off the turner.  Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

Yet another victim of Aunt Erva’s Holiday Fruitcake.

*   *   *

By the end of this day, publicity-shy moiself will have survived enjoyed another public appearance re The Mighty Quinn, this one involving a reading and Q & A session with thirty-to-forty 4th – 8th graders at the Hillsboro Boys & Girls Club.  If only I had some fruitcake to see me through the ordeal.

*   *   *

The Department of Not Holding My Breath…

In this case I’m not holding it for an apology [5] from anyone else in the paranoid conservative talk show radio foghorns  media, now that the House Intelligence Report on Benghazi has been released.

Brian Joyce, one member of the talk show radio host contingent, wrote a persuasive and seemingly heartfelt apology. I wonder what we’ll hear from the rest of his colleagues?

We told you the President was covering up what happened in Benghazi. We told you the President didn’t have a “shred of integrity” on Benghazi. We told you the President was providing “cover” for the terrorists who killed four Americans in Benghazi. We told you that the President could have helped the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi, but instead ordered the military to “stand down.” Heck, we even told you the President’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, faked a concussion just to avoid testifying on Benghazi!

And after two years of trying our best to convince you that all these things were true, it turns out that we, the media, were the ones who were lying.

To those members of the media – specifically, the unmedicated, verbal crap-wiping legion of Fox News-parroting twitclowns – who created the nonexistent “cover-up” of the Benghazi attack, this Asshat of the Week award is for you.

*   *   *

Dateline: Last week.  Scenario: offspring (Belle and K) are home for Thanksgiving break. Belle wanted me to run some errands with her after I was done exercising.  After completing my workout I showered and dressed, and as I exited my room, Belle eyed my shirt and gasped.

“Is that velvet?  Velvet and plaid?”

I nodded, and let her caress my sleeve.

“Oh, wow,” she said.  “It’s like the 90s all rolled into one.”

*   *   *

Department of What If

What if the paper towel dispensers in public restrooms were not motion-activated, but rather emotion-activated?  It wouldn’t be enough to need to dry your hands – you’d have to really, really, demonstrably, want to dry your hands.

*   *   *

As my birthday approaches, I’m going to step out of my comfort zone [6] and reveal something personal.  Not only have I never (successfully) played a musical instrument, [7] it has been said (by moiself) that you could inscribe my innate musical ability on the tip of my pinkie finger and still have room for the Declaration of Independence.

However….

Another little-known personal fact:  despite my lack of musical talent, I have demonstrated perfect pitch. I once threw an accordion in a dumpster, where it landed on a vuvuzela.

*   *   *

 

May all your pitches strive for such perfection, and may the holiday hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

 

[1] If you fail to see the resemblance, a little more eggnog might do the trick.

[2] Y’all know the rules, about the ch- pronunciation, right?

[3] That would be spatula.

[4] Too many people, most of them fruitcake recipe testers (hic), I imagine, claim credit for this recipe, so I’ll leave attribution to the Collective Consciousness of Christmas Culture.

[5] Or even explanation for their fear-mongering slathering passing as “investigative concern.”

[6] I hate that phrase – “comfort zone.” Just typing it makes me feel like a slimy mattress salesman with an ill-fitting toupee.

[7] Being the leader of my high school’s AWMKB (All Women’s Marching Kazoo Band) doesn’t count.

THE SELF I’M NOT PROMOTING

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I’ve recently added a new cardio CD into my workout rotation.  Because, reasons (change is good; bored with the old jumping around….).  This new routine is one I’ve become quite fond of, although its “soundtrack” (the various workouts are choreographed to hip-hop music) has leads to several awkward parent-child moments…

…when those too-damn-catchy tunes stay in my brain after I’m done exercising. I will come downstairs, oblivious to what I am humming only to myself (or so I think) and find son K and/or daughter Belle giving me the what-the? eye. Eventually, one or both will ask me why I am singing just-loud-enough-to-hear-what-they-don’t-want-to-hear-their-mother-singing:

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?

Cue the violins:  writers complaining.  Chapter 576 in a never-ending anthology.

“The thing is, it wasn’t always this way. Publishers used to do most of the marketing for the books they put out. The best an author could do was finish the last chapter and then show up reasonably sober for a tri-city book tour. The hope was that the book would eventually be widely reviewed, and then take off on the strength of word-of-mouth. But social media has crushed that seemingly innocent past… 

I also feel a mixture of contempt and sadness when I see other authors (often friends of mine) typing things like “Here’s my new book trailer!” or “I’ll be appearing at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday!” or “Win a signed copy of something so valueless I’m giving it away for free!” mainly because it’s embarrassing to watch their yearning for bandwidth slam against the indifference of a million kitten-occupied Twitter accounts.”

I am not so involved with social media as the author of the above observations, but I can identify with many of the points he makes in his thesis, Hell is self-promotion.

Thus, readers will be spared that particular hell from moiself. This week.

*   *   *

* The pathological homo-hatred of a certain Russian President

* A certain New York mayoral candidate’s ongoing, informal relationship with reality and his bizarre delusions of adequacy

* a certain Louisiana parish is arguing that it should not be held liable for the rape of a 14-year-old girl in a juvenile detention center because the victim “consented” to be sexually assaulted by a 40-year-old corrections officer at the facility.

* noted players and featured conference speakers in the skeptics movement engaging in sexual harassment of fellow conference speakers, attendees and co-workers

There are far too many candidates for AssHat of the Week

and/or the prestigious EatCatShitandDie Award

But preparing a dinner party for dear Swenadian friends who have returned to the ‘hood after a summer in Sweden is a much more pleasant task than contemplating which of the abundant doofi [1] shall be awarded which particular prize – even the relatively benign Crabby Carrot Man – and so I shall open it to nominations.

Your Name could be here!

Except, one thing: that list at the beginning, the fourth one isn’t all bad.  As per the linked article: Rebecca Watson, a major writer and speaker on the skeptic/atheist circuit wrote in Slate last year, the amount of sexual harassment aimed at women over even the tiniest suggestions of how to make the movement more female-friendly is absolutely stunning. Which is, of course, major bad.  But, as little Ms. Sunshine moiself is noticing, the fact that we are learning about this disgusting mess is because more and more women – and men – are speaking up, naming names and corroborating others’ stories, despite the very real and documented fear of personal and professional retribution .

A predatory snake-in-the-grass is a predatory snake-in-the-grass,[2] regardless of worldview.  I admire those with the courage to speak up about this “dirty laundry” more than I can say; thus, once again, graphics will have to suffice.  With apologies to my reptilian brethren and sistren for the snake-in-the-grass epithet, [3] I present all the truth-tellers with the soon-to-be-esteemed, Compassionate and Courageous Snake in the Pond award:

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite,
 and furthermore always carry a small snake.
(W. C. Fields)

Wishing you Fun Friday Flagons, ® and may the hijinks ensue.

Parting note: today would have been my father’s 89th birthday.  I think he would have enjoyed this blog; I know he would have, in his weekly calls to me, proposed nominations for Asshat of the Week.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Yes, plural of doofus.

[2] There aren’t nearly enough footnotes in this post.

[3] There should be at least three, don’t you think?

The Door I’m Not Opening

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Last weekend while working at the zoo, Belle dropped her iphone in the toilet. Her Facebook account of the eventIn these trying times, please, send your prayers and keep us in mind.

I had to remind her that whenever the Lord closes a toilet lid he opens a port-o-potty door.

*   *   *

MH and I went Tree hugging last weekend, with, apparently, a Guinness World record setting number of fellow huggers, ion an event organized by Hoyt Arboretum.  I normally avoid those kind of affairs [1] (“most false moustaches worn by a crowd in the city plaza”), several of Hillsboro’s The Committee In Charge of Spontaneous Wacky Fun Planning city has organized the past couple of years to do once a year (let’s set the record for most false noses….”), as I find the forced jocularity of it all rather discomforting.  Hey, but this was for the trees – and for the editor of a Journal That Shall Not Be Named, who, many years ago, requested an author’s photo from contributors with the specific stipulation that the photo not be of the author “hugging a tree.”

There was much organizing at the meeting spot, with participants allotted into groups of 50 or so. We hiked a ways up in the arboretum; our fearless leader led us to the designated section for the “L” group.  Which was a slope.  A steep one.  The more accessible trees on the slope were quickly claimed, and it was quite the climb for MH & I to find an unoccupied, hug-worthy tree (we gave up our spot on a lower tree to a couple who were having a hard time ascending the slope).  On my way up, grasping at nearby stumps and praising the traction of my Keen sandals, I saw something bright shiny cobalt blue amidst the pine needles and underbrush.  It was a condom wrapper, intact.  “I am so relieved,” I said to our leader and MH, “to see that we’re going to practice safe tree hugging.”

We huggers assumed our position, a signal rang out, and we had to hug our trees for one minute, during which the groups’ leaders had to scurry about their sections and video all members in their group. The resulting documentation would be turned over to some dweeb resentful summer intern responsible person at Guinness for world record verification.  Oh, and for the record, the tree and I were just good friends.

I am writing this instead of doing what I should be doing, which is packing for my Quickie to Palo Alto, an overnight trip I scheduled when I recently reconnected with friend JK.  JK and Belmont friend LH and I are meeting for dinner at the Flea Street Café .  I was delighted to find the café is still in business, and still with the coolest chef/founder with arguably the coolest chef name ever .[2]  The Flea Street Café was a favorite special occasion/splurge spot for JK and I, back in our days as co-workers in a medical practice.  Also, San Francisco buddy LMW and I had a couple of marvelous meals with the Fleas, toasting each other and commiserating re how much we hated Valentine’s Day…and then MH had to go and propose, on Valentine’s Day, at the Flea Street Café, which put an end to that particular celebration.

The trip was scheduled too quickly to schedule TMQ “events”, or so I was told, so I’m schlepping a copy of The Mighty Quinn plus sell sheets [3] from Scarletta Press to give to three bookstores.  You gotta love Palo Alto – and I do, even though I left it 22 years ago for Oregon – if for no other reason than, as independent, fiction-stocking bookstores across the country are struggling and/or closing, within a 1.4 mile radius of downtown Palo Alto the city has three excellent ones: the venerable Kepler’s Books (no longer hosting Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead gigs,[4] but still hip),  Books, Inc. and Bell’s Books .

*   *   *

The Return of the Lone Asshat

No, it’s not yet another over budget, overblown, underwhelming Disneyfied movie (although if I had a paquillion bucks lying around I’d pay Johnny Depp to star in it).  There have been so many worthy nominees among those occupying the current events venue, I’ll just go for the one I find most entertaining:  summer isn’t over yet, there is still time to get your legs in beach viewing shape with Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) and his Drug Mule workout.

As per this article from The Atlantic Wire, the colorful conservative politician has this colorful comment re immigration reform:

“In a recent interview with the conservative site Newsmax, King said that sure, some kids who would be able to stay in America under the DREAM Act are upstanding citizens brought into the country by their parents — but just not enough to make the law worth it. “Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in,” King said. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Calves the size of cantaloupes.
Binders full of women.

There are some images that are made to last.  Rep. King, may this Asshat be a perfect fit for your (melon-sized?) head.

*   *   *

Apropos of nothing: I love this song.

Still do.  It meant a lot to me in the 70s, and I played the album over and over.  My friend Steve Glasser (RIP my dearest, “minty” buddy) [5] also confessed – and for a guy, it was a confession – to loving Helen Reddy’s entire album (we both especially enjoyed the under-rated track, “Peaceful“).

And not exactly apropos of nothing; there was a catalyst. Scarletta Press was preparing to nominate The Might Quinn for an Amelia Bloomer Project booklist, [6] and their publicist asked for my input on this question on the ABP application: Please explain why this nomination represents significant feminist content.

My kneejerk reaction: Because I am woman (hear me roar).

Happy weekend to y’all, and may the roaring never end [7] and the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] My city has, for some reason, really gotten into in the past few years, with attempts at setting the “Most Groucho Nose & glasses masks work by a crowd” and other such records,  Hillsboro, you’re trying too hard.

[2] Jesse Ziff Cool

[3] A sell sheet is a one-page document providing all the details about your book – an announcement from the publisher, comparable to a blurb you see on the back of a book, but with illustrations and info about  sales and marketing aspects of your book’s release.

[4] The store was founded in 1955 by peace activist Roy Kepler.

[5] “minty” – of course, there is a story behind that adjective.  Tune in next  week.

[6] If you don’t know about this list, you should. The ABP creates an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18.

[7] I never have a footnote at the very end, do I?