Archive for February, 2007

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Two Dynamite Broads

15 February, 2007, Thursday

First up, Amy Winehouse. She’s a new spot of light in my telescope, so I know virtually nothing about her. But so far I’m loving it all – the earthiness, the pin-up-girl tattoos, the cat-eye make-up, the unbelievably mature, confident voice (she’s all of 23).

Her drinking is looming large in her legend already, and apologies to you 12-stepping types, but that is kinda cool, too. I like my artists tortured and bent slightly toward self-destruction.

The title track of her latest CD, ‘Back To Black’, is, arguably, the standout and will probably age the best. But for sheer infectious pleasure, I can’t get enough of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’.

It’s sweet perfection. Her deep, smokey tones drape themselves weightily over that joyous, springy Motown beat like a dunk leaning on the shoulders of a sober and amused friend. And if the chorus wiggles its way into your head, it might be impossible to get it out. For two solid days, I’ve been haunted by: “…he walks awaaay, the sun goes down…”

Her CD was finally released in the States and I hope she spreads through America like a stubborn, oddly-attractive weed.

And may the resurgence of big hair follow firmly in her wake! Women have been suffering under the tyranny of boring, flat hair for far too long. This country needs beehives, and it needs them desperately.

And in other exciting news, Camille Paglia, another totally kickass, albeit beehive-less dame, has resumed her monthly column at Salon.com. If women started reading fewer self-help books and more Paglia, they just might stop being so fucking irritating:

    Let’s get rid of Infirmary Feminism, with its bedlam of bellyachers, anorexics, bulimics, depressives, rape victims, and incest survivors. Feminism has become a catch-all vegetable drawer where bunches of clingy sob sisters can store their moldy neuroses.”

What I like about Camille is she’s interested in what interests her and is unashamed and unapologetic. Seemingly nothing escapes her attention and if she’s so moved to comment, she does.

In her typical rabid, machine-gun style, she covers a lot of ground in her first posting back at Salon. She devotes four paragraphs to Anna Nicole Smith and the “mythic themes” associated with her passing, but my favourite bit was her description of hearing the news:

    “I heard the first bulletins about her death on the car radio as I was driving home from campus last week. At the Popeye’s drive-through (where I was ordering Cajun wings), I blurted in agitation to the window lady, “Anna Nicole Smith just dropped dead — tell everyone!” — which she promptly did.”

Give me a boozey, tattooed soul singer and an intellectual who cops to going through Popeye’s drive-through, and I am a happy, happy girl.

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Adorable Work Anecdote

13 February, 2007, Tuesday

The company I work for has several funeral homes as clients, and so I speak to a lot of nursing homes and assisted living facilities who call to report the deaths of their elderly residents.  

This was the opening statement of a death call I got last night:

“Hi, my name is Sally Jones, and I’m calling from Such and Such Assisted Living Center to report that one of our residents, John Smith, went to Heaven.”

………I’ll pause a moment to let that properly sink in……

A grown woman, nay, a grown professional woman said that one of her patients had, literally, died and gone to Heaven. Oooh boy.

I’ve been doing my current gig for a long fucking time, and I have never, ever taken a death call where someone left the deceased’s eternal forwarding address. 

Is she kidding? She has just got to be kidding, I thought to myself.  

Because nursing home staff sometimes get jaded to the whole death thing, they do occasionally get a little flippant and borderline disrespectful to jazz things up a bit when they call us. 

However, having never spoken to this particular nurse before, I was wary.  So I took the information I needed and refrained from adding my own jokes (“Was Jesus driving the bus?”). 

At the conclusion of the call, and since I was almost near death myself with curiosity about whether this woman was serious or not, when I patched her through to the funeral director so he could dispatch the body removal service, I couldn’t resist listening for a few seconds to hear how she introduced herself to him:

“Hi, I’m Sally Jones, calling to report a resident who’s gone to Heaven.” 

She was as serious as a malignant tumour. 

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Tuuuuuesday Afternoons

13 February, 2007, Tuesday

…are always spent in varying states of exhaustion. And this one is no exception.

The following post is prefaced with apologies for any and all typos, inanities, and inadvertent threats to harm the president. I assure you (and any lurking FBI agents), that the presence of any of the above is regretable and absolutely unintentional.

I worked all night until 7:00AM and then did my volunteer gig tutoring at an adult literacy center for a few hours, so I should not be here. I should be shuffling off to get some shut-eye. But having just watched Dawkins on CNN, sleep has slipped down in rank on my to-do list.

I was so pleased with his appearance.

It’s such an exquisitely rare occurrence to encounter anything even remotely challenging to religion and the existence of God on national television in America that, when there’s promise of an actual M.A.S.D. (Motherfucking Atheist Show-Down), I worry that the good guys will lose their cool and overplay their hand in all the excitement. Y’know, choke.

I remember Dawkins clenching his jaw and swallowing visibly hard at Ted Haggard’s aggressive blustering in The Root of All Evil. So I admit, I had my fingers crossed, imagining a brutal horror show of an ill-conceived round table going at it ruthlessly.

But, ah, embarrassing crisis handily averted. Well done.

That Christian who couldn’t stop trying to shout everyone else down was certainly an insecure little asshole, though, wasn’t he?

Norm at onegoodmove has got all the pertinent video, interesting commentary, and interesting reader comments.

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Richard Dawkins, CNN Tonight 8PM EST

12 February, 2007, Monday

He will be responding to a hostile little segment Paula Zahn aired last week about discrimmination against atheists.

In part one, two families in the American South describe, via taped footage, how their treatment in their communities changed after their non-belief had been disclosed.

Part two is the panel discussion that immediately followed the taped piece. The panelists are comprised of two Christians and a Jew. So, y’know, it was totally fair and balanced.

Paula Zahn – discrimination against atheists part 2

It’s safe to assume that Dawkins’ rebuttal to those two harpies will be slightly more eloquent and consist of something more substantial than “They need to shut up.”

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A Little Slice Of Life In Iraq

12 February, 2007, Monday

There was no context for this video other than the description which states: “Watch and see how the American soldiers have to drive through Iraqi streets to limit risks of attacks.”

So whether this humvee driver is, indeed, barreling through traffic out of fear, or he’s just a prick, I don’t know.

I am quite certain, however, that the admonishment he gives the pedestrian who he accuses of not having “a care in the world” is unjustified.

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Image of the Day

12 February, 2007, Monday

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The Evils Of White Self-Congratulation

11 February, 2007, Sunday

Most everyone born in the shadow of the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960’s was taught from an early age that we should not judge a person by the colour of their skin.   We all bleed red.  It is our character alone that should define us.    Right? 

Wrong! The rules have mysteriously changed.

Just as we get a whiff of a strong, attractive presidential candidate who just happens to be darker hued (not that anyone noticed, of course), we are now told that there’s a clause to consider. He has to have the right pedigree.

Barack Obama, because he is not the product of slaves, is just not black enough. Therefore he is incapable of truly knowing the black experience, and any white person who might vote for him is doing it only in an attempt to assuage their guilt over slavery (because it’s just not possible for a white person to happily vote for a black guy simply on his own merit).

White self-congratulation is, evidently, what it’s called. And how fucking insulting is that?

Debra Dickerson, in the following interview clip, actually says at one point, “It’s not about character, it’s the content of our history and our culture.”

History and culture may, indeed, play an important role within and amongst the people in Ms. Dickerson’s kindred group, but even white people have distinct histories and culture. And the greater American public, black or white, barely has the time or inclination to devote to studying campaign promises and ballot initiatives, let alone the minute distinctions of a candidate’s lineage.

It IS about character. It should begin and end with character.

The black community has the chance to make history on an unbelievable scale, to inspire millions of desperately impoverished urban kids with the notion that they, too, could grow up to be president, yet they are messing around with this piddling, ridiculous bullshit?!

I really can not believe it. Neither can Stephen Colbert and he nails this woman unmercifully.

Video here

And Radar’s take on it here