Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Politically conscious consuming

Lately I've been feeling bad about the way in which I consume. I shop at Walmart, I eat at McDonalds, I get ice cream at Oberweiss Dairy (owned by a guy who ran for Congress here in Illinois on a really awful anti-immigration platform. And yes, Mexicans do appear to work at his shops).

Now, in theory, I feel like I've drawn appropriate lines for myself. I will not cross picket lines. I tip at 20 percent. If there is an organized boycott, I will participate in it. But I don't know what to do about things like Walmart. I hate Walmart's cultural politics nearly as much as I hate how little they pay their employees and the way they force down wages in Asia. But I also genuinely believe that making a distinction between Walmart and Target politically is pretty silly. Target is slightly better culturally (though they do allow their pharmacists to refuse to issue the morning after pill), but as far as wages and pressure on manufacturers go I think it's pretty much the same. And let's be frank, it's expensive to shop at the independent stores that somehow circumvent the pressure to pay low wages, etc. Not to mention that they're hard to come by. I don't really have any ideas about a way to reconcile my politics and the need/desire to shop, but if any one out there does, let me know.


I'm back! For now, anyway. At any rate, Stephan and I went to Baltimore-that-sounds-like-a-bird-Maryland for my friend S's wedding reception. The official wedding went down in India. But the reception itself was super fun. It was nice to see a bunch of people, and most of all to be at the celebration. Didn't see much of Baltimore though. Airport hotel airport. Anyway, this is Stephan and I at the wedding. The Indian men liked Stephan's pink tie.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bad week/end

I've had a really hard, discouraging weekend both personally and professionally. And worst of all I'm losing my ass in fantasy baseball. Even my efforts toward escapism are biting me in the ass these days. I need something warm and fuzzy right now and since Stephan and I aren't home enough for a dog at the moment, I'll have to go with this really cute picture of a hamster.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

25 sexiest novels ever written--Thank you Playboy

I like lists. So sue me. I'm not much better on this list than the movie one, but oh well.

1. Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure byJohn Cleland
2. Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence
*3. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
4. Story of O by Pauline Reage
5. Crash by JG Ballard
6. Interview with a Vampire by Ann Rice
7. Portnoy's Complaint by Phillip Roth
*8. The Magus by John Fowles
*9. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
10. Endless Love by Scott Spencer
*11. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
12. Carrie's Story by Molly Weatherfield
13. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
*14. Peyton Place by Grace Metallious
15. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
16. The End of Alice by AM Homes
17. Vox by Nicholson Baker
18. Rapture by Susan Minot
19. Singular Pleasures by Harry Matthews
20. In the Cut by Susanna Moore
21. Brass by Helen Walsh
22. Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg
23. Forever by Judy Blume
24. An American Dream by Norman Mailer
25. The Carpetbagger by Harold Robbins

And by the way, I'm only halfway thru Lolita currently. Found at kottle.org, which I love.

Abortion in South Dakota

As you may guess, I'm horrified by the abortion ban passed in South Dakota, due to go into effect July 1. Whether it actually does or not is not yet clear, but I'm heartened by this May 18 story by Bill Harlan in the Rapid City Journal:

"Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecelia Fire Thunder says a clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation could provide abortions if South Dakota’s new abortion ban goes into effect.
“We’re working on it,” Fire Thunder said in a telephone interview Friday. “This is a free-choice issue. If I were in that situation, I’d want somewhere to go where I’d be taken care of.”The new South Dakota law bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother — with no exceptions for rape or incest.Fire Thunder said the state law would not apply to the reservation. “We’re a sovereign nation,” she said.The new law is set to go into effect July 1, but a court challenge almost certainly will delay it, and opponents of the law are already gathering signatures to put it on the ballot in November.Fire Thunder, in fact, is one of 15 co-leaders of the new South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which on Friday announced a statewide campaign to overturn the new law.South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long declined to comment on the proposal, saying he likely would have to write a description of the new law for ballots in November.Long said that major crimes committed on reservations come under state jurisdiction if they are committed by non-Indians against non-Indians. Other major crimes fall under federal law.Rapid City attorney Charlie Abourezk, who has experience in Indian law and who has represented tribes and President Fire Thunder, said Indian doctors might be immune from the new state law if abortions were done on a reservation — whether the woman was Indian or non-Indian.University of South Dakota law professor Frank Pommersheim, an expert in Indian law, agreed that Fire Thunder’s proposal was “potentially workable” — especially if doctors were Indians and if the clinic were on Indian trust land.Pommersheim said licensing could pose a problem. Physicians licensed by the state of South Dakota could face penalties, but he also said tribes might set up their own licensing procedures.Long said that Indian Health Service physicians don’t have to be licensed by South Dakota as long as they have licenses from other jurisdictions.State Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, R-Rapid City, who voted for the new abortion ban, said state legislators did not anticipate a tribal government setting up a clinic. “I think it’s poor policy because I don’t believe in abortion unless it’s to save the life of a mother,” Kraus said. “I don’t believe abortion is the answer to women’s problems.”Fire Thunder’s proposal will be moot if South Dakota’s new abortion ban never goes into effect. In fact, she predicted a federal court would rule it unconstitutional. But she said if the law did go into effect, she would work to open a clinic, maybe even on land she would donate. “We’ve got lawyers working on it right now,” she said.Earlier in the week, Fire Thunder told newspaper columnist Tim Giago that she would “personally establish a Planned Parenthood Clinic on my own land.”Planned Parenthood officials “expressed gratitude” for the offer in a news release Friday but said they didn’t plan to open a reservation clinic.“It doesn’t have to be Planned Parenthood,” Fire Thunder said Friday.Fire Thunder has worked as a licensed practical nurse, and she has helped set up community health clinics in Los Angeles. She said the tribe could set up its own clinic. “If we choose to do this, we can.”Fire Thunder said such a clinic could serve women “from throughout the region.” But she also emphasized the clinic’s local effect. “We want to have a viable option closer to home,” Fire Thunder said in a written statement issued late Friday afternoon. “Of course, in our culture, children are sacred, but women are sacred too, and somebody who has been victimized by rape or incest should have options.”Contact Bill Harlan at 394-8424 or bill.harlan@rapidcityjournal.com"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Obsessed with Scientology

Okay, I'm probably not alone here, but I'm obsessed with Scientology. It's endlessly fascinating. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes totally creep me out. John Travolta and Kelly Preston freak me out. Giovanni Ribisi broke my heart when I discovered he was a Scientologist. And the Scientology South Park was one of the funniest things of all time (trapped in the closet!!!). But I think my favorite part of all is this brief history of Scientology I read in Mike Davis' City of Quartz (a really great book about the history of LA; everything from tax revolts by Orange County suburbanites to the fortress-like architecture constructed in the city. It also has a chapter on LA intellectuals, which is what this anecdote comes from). I highly recommend the book in general, but because not everyone is a giant history nerd, here are the relevant pages. Click on the images to enlarge. PS--If you are still having trouble reading this due to my crappy pictures, you can search inside this book on Amazon. Go to "Search inside this book" and look up L. Ron Hubbard and then click on the link to page 59.

Monday, May 15, 2006

My mom will love this . . .

My mom is going to think this is so funny. She's infinitely amused by this stuff. When she and my dad visited me in London, she made him take a picture of the street sign that prohibits leaving your dog's poo on the sidewalk. My dad was mortified. By the way, this is one of my friend's honeymoon pictures from New Zealand.

TV, don't go!

So it's the end of the season for many many tv shows.
On Mondays, I no longer get to watch How I Met Your Mother:

or Prison Break, which fuck it because they fucked Stephan over so many times (Wentworth is still hot though).

On Tuesday, no more Gilmore Girls. By the way, this is a picture of Lane's wedding that I searched all over for for the wedding post earlier.

On Wednesday, Lost and ANTM are both nearly over. Bedford Diaries is already over.

Thursday, The Office and My Name Is Earl are both done.

Friday, Degrassi just started, but their seasons are short!

And Sunday, Simpsons are done.

What the hell am I going to do? Any TV on DVD recommendations for me for the summer months?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

I'm currently burning Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins for my brother. I absolutely love this album right now. Not only is it infectiously twang-y, but I'm a huge huge huge fan of Jenny Lewis from the Wizard. How great is the Wizard? It makes me want to play Super Mario 3 so bad.

S's Birthday

I guess Sarah's cover is blown here--no S for her. It's Sarah's 29th, and for my 26th she made me homemade carmels AND butterscotch. Both were Amazing. She also gave me some awesome ribbon with tiny teapots on it. Right up my alley.

I'm not that great a baker, or at least not good enough for it to qualify as a present. I don't think I'm actually that great a sewer either, but at least it's permanent. Anyway, this is a needlebook for Sarah. I'm kind of bummed I didn't fix that bump on the side, but I don't think it's going to happen at this point. Hope she likes it. Hope she doesn't discover my blog before Friday.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Best News Ever

I just read on Oh Joy!(http://www.ohjoy.blogs.com/):

"For those of you following the Go International craze at Target...I just heard the great news over at Style Bubble that Paul & Joe will be creating a collection for Target's Go International line set to launch August 1st. I am a huge fan of Sophie Albou's work and look forward to a lower-priced selection! Yay! I'm not in love with the current Tara Jarmon selection, so I'm thrilled for what will come next."

I am so EXCITED about this. I really really really really love Paul & Joe. There are maybe 45 things I love on Albou's site. Usually I cannot afford Paul & Joe. I can afford Target. ENOUGH SAID. Jungle Navigator, are you hearing this??????????????

PS. Oh Joy is one of my very favorite blogs.

This one went to market

My friend's son turned 1 on Wednesday so my friend S and I made puppets. Sadly I only have a picture of mine because hers was super awesome. It was a blue owl modeled on the one from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I made a pig puppet. He reminds me of the drawing I made of my fetal pig Buckwheat from freshman high school biology class.

Onward Christian Soldiers

I have a friend who studies Christian business. I already knew that Forever 21 is a Christian store due to the Bible verse on the bottom of their bags. I did NOT know that eHarmony was a Christian business and that its mission is to reduce American divorce by 10 percent (and there's my dissertation). Although thinking back I should have known since no one but hippies and Fundamentalist Christians use the word harmony.

Rally post 2

I just wanted to add that Ryan Gosling and Rachel MacAdams believe in immigrant rights too. Also this is a better picture of the Chicago march. (pictures taken from NYT and Pink is the New Blog).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Si se puede

Today I was one of apparently 400,000 participants in a Chicago march to protest the current unforgivable immigration legislation on the table. The march was an amazing experience. People were there with their kids, wearing Tshirts from their employers or unions or Latino organizations, carrying or wearing flags (cape-style). Everyone was chanting in Spanish and English, people played instruments, and we marched about 2 miles. Both before and after the march there were rallies--US Senator Barack Obama and US Representative Luis Guttierez both spoke (which I couldn't hear very well to be honest). And there were hardly any counter-protesters, though I did hear some rumors about skinheads somewhere. Most of all, a demonstration this large and peaceful is such a powerful political statement. It was pretty nice to feel part of something this important.

My favorite moment of all though was when we marched over the highway and all of the semis honked to support us. Si se puede.

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