Sunday, December 31, 2006


This here test

says I'm a girl.

So there.

mr. delagar, I have to say, was shocked as shit. He only married me because I was mostly a dude with tits. Now I'm a secret girl? Bummer.

(Of course the REASONS it says I'm a girl are wholly specious -- I'm bad at math and figuring out angles, I'm good at reading moods and excellent at words and under those criteria, shit, mr. delagar is a girl too. Don't anyone tell him so.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006


We are back from the holiday. We rented a vehicle to visit my parents. This was an interesting experience. It was a 2006 Pontiac something, I forget what, but it is the closest thing to a new car I have ever been in. (We have always bought cheap beaters, with about 30,000 miles on them.) That, I have to tell you is some experience. Plus? An American car. You step on the gas, them puppies GO.

I did nearly kill us about five times on the way to New Orleans (I had to drive, due to mr. delagar's bad shoulder -- he's on Vicodin, due to the bad shoulder, and I wouldn't let him drive when he was high, even though he insisted he could) in the Christmas traffic. Do you know new cars have proximity alarms? When you're about to crash they go MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP! WATCH THE FUCK OUT YOU IDIOT! It's very exciting. mr. delagar skipped the Vicodin on the way home and drove us himself.

The kid got many gifts from aunts and uncles and grandparents, including two battery-powered remote-controled dinosaurs that walk and roar; I got Kate Atkinson's new book. mr. delagar got an art set. It was a nice holiday. No one started any trouble except me -- I went off on the patriarchy once -- and that wasn't much trouble.

More on the condition of New Orleans later.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Astrological Cold Spots

Here in Pork Smith we have entered what mr. delagar and I wryly call astrological cold spots -- places in life where one must begin to walk carefully, as everything that can go wrong begins to do so. So far this winter, I have been in the shop for three separate medical conditions, and now, lately, this tooth; he's been in for two, including lately, some mysterious shoulder malady; and now, yesterday, in the middle of a rainy, cold, wet Pork Smith rush hour (Pork Smith NEVER has rush hours, but the rain and some idiot in an SUV turning over his vehicle caused one) our one car that actually still mostly worked reliably overheated, for no reason that we could discern. We took it to our guy this morning at dawn, and he said he couldn't fix it, but maybe this other guy (Al) could. We drove it there (still raining, still cold, the kid whining in the backseat, and she hardly ever whines) overheating all the way and Al said maybe he could fix it, maybe he couldn't, but probably not before Christmas - this is the car we were driving down to New Orleans in, mind you, since the other is a bucket of junk. The kid begins to sob.

Al says he'll try to fix it before Chrismas.

Sobbing kids are good for something, apparently.

Oh, and my tooth still hurts. The dentist says to let it go for a while. See what happens. Now there's a good plan.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

For Future Reference

Something you never want to hear your dentist say:

"This is going to hurt. Sorry."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Fun In Indiana

You'll remember my trip to Indiana, where the snotty brat of a waiter wouldn't sell me French Fries ("We only sell AMERICAN fries here, ma'am!")?

Here's someone else who had fun in Indiana:


I've got this bad tooth, see...

The dentist can't fit me in until Friday.

It's been bad all week, and here in Pork Smith, since the pain clinic got busted four years ago, doctors are scared to prescribe pain meds -- yes, even to patients in pain -- and this guy won't give me any. He says I should use Advil.

In shit, I say.

I've done bad pain four times in my life: well, more than that, obviously, since I'm a migraine patient, but I'm counting the migraines as once. Four incidents of extreme pain: the gall bladder, the kidney stone, the migraines, labor, and now this.

People who haven't done serious pain have no notion of what it is like. Real pain is a different planet. A separate worldview.

One thing it does is make you scared of pain -- before I knew about real pain, I thought I was tough. I can take it, I used to think; but that was before real pain put me on my knees. Real pain blows your limits and takes you into the land beyond. That's where fear lives, and that's where you never want to be again. So you get to the state where you'll do what you have to do not to be in that place.

I hate pain now.

And here I am, with a mouth filled with it. And a dentist who thinks Advil is the answer.

For a week, now, I've been trying to box off real pain, armed only with Advil. (I called him twice, trying to get in early, and trying to get more help with the pain. No luck either time.)

Well, tomorrow I see the fucking dentist. He's lucky I'm a civilized socialist, that's all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That War on Christmas Again

You might have heard about the fuss, out in Seattle, about the Christmas trees and the Menorah.

The Seattle airport with its Christmas trees? Rabbi Bogomilsky who wondered if maybe they might add a menorah or two? Since around 7% of the population of Seattle is, after all, Jewish?

The airport administration who said screw that, if we bend to one minority, we'll be bending to all minorities (never mind that Christians are, in fact, the minority in Seattle -- only 30% of people in Seattle are self-professed Christians) and took down the trees.

For which who got blamed?

Oh, that's right. The Jews.

Because this is America, after all, a Christian nation, and Rabbi Bogomilsky should be aware of that, and keep his faith out of the public square.

Go over to Google Blog Search, put in Rabbi Seattle and Airport, and see what the winger blogs have to say about this if you don't believe me. What an education in the worldview of our country.

NPR did a bit on this yesterday, which the kid heard on the way home from her Aikido. It upset her a great deal. Welcome to America, sweetie.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This Is Discourse?

So I was over there on Arts & Letters Daily, cruising around, as I do, because I teach the art of discourse, you might remember -- it's my profession, or anyway, part of my profession (seriously, I hardly know what my profession is, somedays -- what do you teach? I'm asked by my doctor or my dentist or the guy who sells me tires and my mind stutters: well, Chaucer, you know, and Victorian Literature, and History of the English Language and World Literature and, oh, yes, writing, that too) --

Anyway, I like Arts & Letters because OFTEN the essays on that site are good ones.

But John Derbyshire? What a tool.

Here's just a tiny excerpt from the bit of nonsense he published in the New English Review, from his essay on what is wrong with public schools in America:

"There is the public school racket, in which homeowners and taxpayers fork out stupendous sums of money to feed a socialistic extravaganza in which, when its employees can spare time from administration, “professional development” sabbaticals, and fund-raising for the Democratic Party, boys are pressed to act like girls, and dosed with calming drugs if they refuse so to act; girls are encouraged to act like boys by taking up advanced science, math, and strenuous sports, which few of them have any liking or aptitude for; and boys and girls alike are indoctrinated in the dubious dogmas of “diversity” and political correctness.

There is the teacher-unions racket , in which people who only work half the days of the year are awarded lifetime tenure and lush pensions on the public fisc, subject to dismissal for no offense less grave than serial arson or piracy on the high seas."

It goes on from there, getting only richer with cliche and lack of thought, every line ringing changes on right-wing talking points, showing not one bit of familiarity with the actual world of public schools -- or any actual school, or any actual teachers, or any actual children, for that matter. What he is obviously doing is pandering to his conservative audience -- those as ignorant of the actual school system as he is, either because they are elderly or because they are religious homeschoolers or because they are childless -- and from the comment section of the post, that is who he has, in fact, appealed to. (The few readers who have children in the public school system protest Derbyshire's ignorance and incorrectness in the comments, pointing out that no, teachers don't, in fact, work half days, that girls don't, in fact, hate science and math -- but the rest ignore these readers.)

Here's the web address -- my links are down, I'm afraid:

I was originally annoyed that Derbyshire got paid to write this swill -- but hey, so does Coulter get paid to write her filthy idiocy, and it's a free market, innit? What annoys me more, I've decided, is that people in America have been so ill-educated is that they can read this swill and say, yah, man, you right!

We deserve Bush, apparently.

Too bad.

Update: I feel obligated to add a discaimer -- my kid, as long-time readers know, is no longer in the public schools. We took her out after kindergarten. But this was not due to the quality of the school or the teachers. Her teacher was excellent, and the school was doing the best it could with the funding it had. No, we took her out because of the culture that surrounded her, especially then, three years ago, at the peak of Bush fever. We took her out because she was surrounded by parents driving their kids to schools in Hummers and five year old girls who wouldn't play with her unless she went to "Dance Team" lessons (where she dressed in a sparkly pink swim suit and high heels and learned to march while throwing a baton) and other five year olds who pestered her relentlessly about why she wasn't Saved and did she want to come to Sunday School or Bible Camp with them and those five-year-olds' parents who ambushed her in the lunch room to repeat the invitation and then her best friend who made fun of her unless she wore pink, every day, and kids on the playground astounded that she had never watched Halloween X, or whatever that mass murder movie is -- did I mention these were five year olds? -- and why didn't she have an XBox (or whatever the game was then) what was wrong with her? Didn't she know what cool was? Not to mention the barrage of sugar -- they lived on sugar and dye, those kids. And she wanted to, too.

Anyway. It was the classmates and their parents, not the school, that we mainly moved from; and also to get the smaller class size -- 44 students they had in her class at the public school. I still can't believe that. Her teacher was amazing, but even so.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Hey, This is Cool

When your kid grows up some? She forgets all the stuff you did when she was little, like putting food coloring in her bath so that she could have multi-colored bath water.

So now you can do it all again.

Recycled parenting!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More on Income Disparity

This post from Angry Bear:

Socialist Rant

Over on Pandagon, Amanda has an interesting post up about income disparity, and that growing gap between our rich and our poor, and what's up with the middle class.

Go have a look, and a think.

This issue is particularly itchy with me today since I took the kid to the oral surgeon yesterday. We were at the dentist last month, and the orthodonist two weeks ago. She's only eight, you know. But my, her jaws. Anyway, she needs two teeth extracted and she has a tongue-tie, apparently, though you wouldn't know it from the rate she talks, and then in June the orthodontist is going to start doing major work...we have insurance. Oh, yes. But you know insurance these days. It's useless.

Longtime readers of this blog will know I went through bankruptcy over medical issues just two years ago. I pay almost five hundred a month for the medical/dental coverage I have now. That's just for the coverage. That doesn't begin to address co-pays and drugs, which I also pay for. I'm not pleased to find out how little of the surgery is going to be covered -- almost none of it, as it develops. It will cost over a thousand dollars to extract two teeth and clip her lingual frenum, and I have to pay for almost seven hundred of that.

Someone remind me again why socialized medicine is a bad idea.

Which is not my main point. My main point -- and I do have one -- is besides my massive health insurance bills, relative to my income, my huge medical expenses, relative to my income, my giant tax bills, relative to my income (nine thousand to the Federal government last year, seven thousand to the state, who knows what in sales taxes, because who can keep track), I have all these incidental expenses, added on: three dollar a gallon gasoline, thanks to some stupid Iraqi war; food prices that skyrocket, thanks to the three-dollar gasoline; an electric bill that was suddenly, last summer, in the triple digits, thanks to the skyrocketing cost of fuel; and what am I, the squeezed middle class, going to do about this?

Take money out of my trust fund? Oh, wait. What trust fund?

Cut back on labor cost? That would be cool, if I only owned the means of production.

We are left with nothing to do but either stop eating, stop buying something (but what? rent? fuel? clothes?), or go into debt. I refuse to risk that last one again, and what else is there?

We're doing without clothes at the moment, and eating crap, but that is starting to get truly grim.

As Amanda points out in her article, the New Deal was struck for a reason, and it wasn't because everyone loved Socialists, either.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Trying Something

We'll see if it works.

This one of mr. delagar's publications -- my favorite, in fact:

It's a pdf, obviously.

I've never done one of those before.

Oh, Who Cares?

The lack of uproar of Padilla and the habeas corpus issue in general continues to upset me.

People who ought to care about this and don't -- what is up, dudes?

This should be a central issue. Our country, our government, can take its citizens -- any of us -- seize us, hold us, torture us, for any reason or none, for as long as it wishes. All that government has to do is says it has cause. (Padilla is a U.S. Citizen. Bush said he was an enemy combatant. Didn't prove it in court. Didn't offer evidence to that effect. Just said it. And Padilla got held and tortured for 3 years. Now he has been charged -- not with being an enemy combatant, mind you. With a string of other crimes.)

And does anyone mind? Does anyone care? Are we upset?


Not like anything important is happening, is it?

Go read here:

The Kid Mouths Off

Conversation at the delagar household this morning:

mr. delagar (picking up his keys): well, I'm off to save the world for democracy.

me: me, I'm off to save the world for socialism. Someone put Big Dog out, will you? Big Dog has to save the world for dog-dom.

The Kid: What's he going to do? Bite his butt all day?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sodding Off God

Twisty has, as I'm sure you know, been doing a series called Sod Off, God over on her site --

due to which, along with various events that have been rearing up in my life, I've been forced to revisit this annoying God question.

And shit, is it annoying. Like black flies, you know. Zzzzz, zzzz, zzzzz. They won't shut up and they won't die? And they're useless on top of it? That's how I feel about the theists.

Mind you, I am willing to admit that some perfectly nice theists exist.

Fred on Slacktivist.

Anne Lamott. But that's -- um -- two? And for those two I give you the thousand like these folk over at Jimmy Akin

and Fred Phelps and Dawn Eden and my student who told me with all sincerity that the lake of fire was waiting for my feminist self if I did not repent at once.


Here's what's been happening in the delagar household lately.

The kid asks me about baptism. Her grandparents, who are Christians, take her to their church from time to time, and apparently she has seen them take communion there. I explain what that is, as clearly as I can. It's bizarre, though, when you try to explain that ritual from the outside -- "See, the little cracker is meant to be God's flesh and the grape juice is blood, and -- well, why they're eating it, it's to remember that Jesus died -- no, Jesus and God are the same -- and Jesus died as a sacrifice and if they eat his -- no, it's not really his real blood, well, in some churches it is, but not Grandma's --, you don't have to eat it, because you're not baptized. What's baptized? Well."

And this led into baptism.

And this led into whether I had ever been baptized.

And this led into whether I believed in God. Again.

Because the kid knows other people are theists. She goes to this school full of hard-rock Baptists and Islamists and Buddhists, whatever, they're all theists except her. Even her father is a sort-of Jew. She knows he sort of believes in a kind of a God.

She knows I don't.

"Why do people believe in God?" she demanded of me. "Why?"

"Well," I said, "I can't speak for them. But I think it's mostly because they're afraid of death."

She considered this. We were lying in bed, having just awakened on a Sunday morning, which is when we have our deep philosophical discussions. "Who wouldn't be?" she demanded.

"I'm not," I said. "Not really." I'm afraid of dying, though I didn't tell her this. Death itself doesn't bother me -- but the process of getting there, the inconvenience, the destruction it will wreak upon those I love, that's what worries me. But death? Shit. Frankly, I can use the sleep.
"I used to be," I added, "but I'm not anymore."

"I am," she admitted.

"Well, you're meant to be," I said. "It's evolution's way of keeping you alive."

She considered this.

"Once you grow up," I said, "I think that's meant to wear off. But some people don't grow up, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, I think that's what God is. A way people have invented of trying to pretend they will never die. Like your imaginary friends. And then they get everyone else to believe in it too. Well, all right. That's fine. But what if you started shooting other people because they wouldn't believe in your dragons? That would not be so pleasant."

Which is the main problem I have with theists. If they would just huddle in their churches and believe in their gods, fine. If they would have their delusional moments, whatever. But they want to force everyone to believe what they believe -- and I know why, of course, because unless they can get everyone to agree that the big green bunny is there, then they can't really be certain it is, and then they might have to die after all -- and they need this to such an extent that they start wars, and commit oppressions, and torture the infidel, and create the patriarchy, and all that rest, just to support their central delusion.

Get over it, I say.

You're going to die. Caeser was mortal. So are you. Stop putting your energy into lies, start putting it into the truth, and see what you might be able to do, just one fucking time.

How about that plan?