Archive for January, 2007

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I Am Amused

January 22, 2007

by the writing of Ronald Firbank, whose novels I’ve been coasting through over the past few days.  They are light, but interesting – oblique and witty.

From Vainglory:

“Surely,” he reflected, “her hair must be wired?”

Probably, as his wife had hinted once, her secret lay simply in her untidiness.  She had made it a study.  Disorder, with her, had become a fine art.  A loose strand of hair… the helpless angle of a hat… And then, to add emphasis, there were always quantities of tiny buttons in absurd places on her frocks that cried aloud, or screamed, or gently prayed, to be fastened, and which, somehow, gave her an air of irresponsibility, which, for simple folk, was possibly quite fascinating.

 Another character says elsewhere:

“When I try to do arithmetic, clouds come down upon me like they do in Tannhäuser.”

It’s most entertaining to read such stuff on a gloomy cold day, accompanied by tea.

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The Drama Queen Attacked by Spinach

January 21, 2007

Or something green.  Or nothing.  It’s unclear.  Mainly it’s something that she wants to gripe about:

On March 17, 2000 I drove from Massachusetts to New Jersey.  Along the way I stopped at Wendy’s.  When I got to New Jersey, I had dinner at Ruby Tuesday with friends.  Then, because it was St. Patrick’s day, I went out for a beer with a friend.  By the time we got to the bar I felt sick.  I left not long after.  By midnight, I was violently ill.  By 2 AM I would have said it took all my strength to reach the phone and call for a car to bring me to the campus health center.  Except that when I got up and made my way down the stairs to get out to the car, it redefined my idea of how much strength I could summon.  I passed out briefly two or three times between my bedroom and the front door.  Passed out where no matter how hard I fought, darkness flashing with swirling spotty lights closed around my field of vision and my extremities were numb and burning at the same time and I felt myself falling backwards away from the door I knew I had to reach to get help, the door I dragged myself out by the handle and left unlocked because I had no choice.  I had to choose between putting on shoes and getting to the door, so I went to the infirmary in socks, and came home in them 2 days later.

Wow.  That’s rough.  But the prose is stylish.  Kind of.

The only thing on earth that could possibly remind me of this tragedy is the story I recently read about a famous mountain climber pitting himself against a peak, and just when he thinks everything is fine, he gets a 500-pound chunk of ice falling down on his head so his ice axe stabs him through his face and he spurts blood all over the place and he flails around wondering if he’ll live or die, because nobody is there to rescue him.

He does live.

They released me around 30 hours later, after administering fluids and cipro through IV, with cipro pills.  Two weeks later, at a follow-up visit, the gastroenterologist told me the dehydration had been so severe I could have suffered heart failure.

So, yeah, my own experience having been aggravated by gluten intolerance or not, I take the threat of E. coli pretty fucking seriously.

Oh, I’m sure you do.

I hope nobody ever waves a bun with some greens in it in front of your face.  Who knows what might happen.

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Yes, I’d Rather Read Books

January 19, 2007

than read the output of most bloggerati, including the dude who wrote this:

Here’s my take on the whole matter — “intellectuals” who’d rather read books and measure purity are next-to-useless. I prefer people of action, not of [sic] elitist academics.

The best I can say about that statement is that it has a certain “Lost Boy” charm to it – We don’t need none o’ that there “sivilization”!  Those Lost Boys are so cute: Peter Pan, Huck Finn, Stalin…

This is what I call the “Year Zero” mentality: “We are young, we are bloggers, we are coming in to sweep away all the old nonfunctioning paradigms and reinvent the world!”  The problem with that idea is that if you’re insufficiently educated and insufficiently aware, as most of these bloggers are, you’ll be reinventing the wheel.  And you’ll probably be doing it wrong.

“Action” is essential, but only when the action is intelligently focused.  And you can’t focus intelligently when you’re unaware and you’re victimized by propaganda.

When the issue is feminism, the stakes are high.  There’s far too much misinformation, distortion, and general ignorance about feminism to allow any slacking-off in this department.  There’s an active campaign to criticize and silence feminist voices – and this hostility is not only coming from the right wing, but from some people who are ostensibly “progressives”.

I’ve noticed on a few occasions, when someone says something clueless about feminism and I advise the person to read certain important books, this tends to result in an indignant uproar, along the lines of: “How dare you say I’m not a good enough feminist because I haven’t read the right books!” 

Well, sorry, but that’s how it is.  Really. 

There’s no sin in being ill-informed.  The sin is in not taking steps to rectify that situation.

Here on Supervixens we’ll be talking about important feminist writers and activists, covering some people even your “women’s studies” class didn’t include.  The idea is to provide a jumping-off point so you can read more and learn more about feminism.

There’s a huge history of women and women’s accomplishments that is largely unknown.  The only way to find out about this is through reading and study.  The puerile punditocracy won’t be telling you about it.  We will.

Dreadful/Dreadless Woman (noun): Terrible Woman/Fearless Woman, who is ineffably frightening to the ruling fools.  Example: Bessie Smith (1894-1937), who was threatened by members of the ku klux klan during one of her shows (Concord, North Carolina, July 1927).  Bessie asked some stagemen to help her get rid of the hooded hoods, but the stagemen were terrified and fled:

Not Bessie.  She ran toward the intruders, stopped within ten feet of them, placed one hand on her hip, and shook a clenched fist at the Klansmen.  “What the fuck you think you’re doin’?” she shouted above the sound of the band.  “I’ll get the whole damn tent out here if I have to.  You just pick up them sheets and run!”

The Klansmen, apparently too surprised to move, just stood there and gawked.  Bessie hurled obscenities at them until they finally turned and disappeared quietly into the darkness. [Chris Albertson, Bessie]

Definition from Mary Daly’s Wickedary.  I’ll be writing more about Daly soon.

H. R. H. Supervixen

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hello from another planet

January 19, 2007

I’m a little nervous…I could be Pluto’d, just another burnt out star.

Let’s give “hrh ” some props, and an ‘open threat”, while eating her cyber chili.

Miss Devore

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Supervixens Kitchen: Chicken Chili

January 15, 2007

It’s been a cold, snowy weekend here at Supervixen Central, so I made a big batch of Chicken Chili.  It hit the spot.  The recipe follows. 

A great culinary discovery I made this weekend: the new dark-chocolate M&Ms are really very good!

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Advice to Supervixens who like to cook: get this pot, it’s the best – the Le Creuset 7 1/2-quart bouillabaisse pot.  It’s pricey but well worth it.  I have yet to make bouillabaisse in mine, but I use it for all my soups, stews and chilis.  I really like the shape.  It’s a lot easier to cook stuff in than the normal “Dutch oven” shape.

Supervixens Chicken Chili

This makes a robust, very spicy chili.  Adjust the spices if you prefer your chili mild.

3 large chicken breasts, split (6 halves)

Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or Spicy Adobo seasoning, if you have it).  Roast at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until cooked through.  Allow to cool.  Remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces.

4 cups chopped onion

4 Tablespoons canola oil

Fry onion in oil in large heavy-bottomed pot (preferably your bouillabaisse pot!) until onion is soft and translucent but not browned.  Add:

2 cubanelle (Italian sweet) peppers, cored, seeded and diced

2 orange bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 small carrots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Cook until softened. 

In small bowl, mix together until blended:

2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt

2 Tablespoons cumin

4 Tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 Tablespoon hot paprika

3 Tablespoons corn meal

Sprinkle over onion-vegetable mixture in pot.  Mix thoroughly and cook for a few minutes until the aroma of the spices is released.  Be careful not to burn, as the spice mixture will stick to the pan.

Add:

2 cups chicken broth

1 12-ounce bottle Dos Equis amber beer

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and crushed

2 7-ounce cans chopped green chiles, with liquid

2 cups corn kernels

The cooked chicken meat

Stir and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook at a simmer for 1 hour.

Add:

2 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans (I used “roman” beans, the pink-striped kind), drained

1 handful fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and finely chopped

1 handful fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and finely chopped

Stir gently until blended.  Heat through.

Remove from heat.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight.

Serve garnished with grated sharp cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and chopped scallions or chives.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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Women’s Power to Name

January 13, 2007

This kind of thing really fries me:

Mike Buday isn’t married to his last name. In fact, he and his fiancee decided before they wed that he would take hers.

But Buday was stunned to learn that he couldn’t simply become Mike Bijon when they married in 2005.

As in most other states, that would require some bureaucratic paperwork well beyond what a woman must go through to change her name when marrying.

Instead of completing the expensive, time-consuming process, Buday and his wife, Diana Bijon, enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state of California. They claim the difficulty faced by a husband seeking to change his name violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Diana and I feel strongly about gender equality for both men and women,” Buday said. “I think the most important thing in all of this is to bring it to a new level of awareness.”

Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU in Southern California, said it is the first federal lawsuit of its kind in the country. “It’s the perfect marriage application for the 17th century,” Rosenbaum said. “It belongs in the same trash can as dowries.”

Only six states – Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota – have statutes establishing equal name-change processes for men and women when they marry. In California and other states, men cannot choose a different last name while filing a marriage license.

In California, a man who wants to take his wife’s name must file a petition, pay more than $300, place a public notice for weeks in a local newspaper and then appear before a judge.

That is just plain RIDICULOUS

At one point, the couple tried the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a name change. But Buday said he was told by a woman behind the counter: “Men just don’t do that type of thing.”

Well, yeah, they do.  And good for them!

Laws giving women an easy choice of names were largely a byproduct of the feminist movement. A 2004 Harvard University study found that the number of college-educated women who kept their surnames upon marriage rose from about 3 percent in 1975 to nearly 20 percent in 2001.

I love that – “largely” a “byproduct” of the feminist movement.  What else would have brought this concept to the fore?  What could be more important to the establishment of gender equality than the concept that a woman can KEEP HER OWN NAME when she gets married?  That her identity isn’t subsumed into her husband’s?  That she HAS an identity?

When I got married in 1988, I kept my name.  It was my name, dammit!  MY IDENTITY!  None of this “you’re becoming a possession of your husband” bullshit. 

I thought that keeping one’s own name was a well-established practice by that time.  But no.  Even some ostensibly “liberal” people were taken aback by the idea.  One of my co-workers crooned, “But I think it’s so romantic when the man and woman have the same last name…. it shows their deep commitment, shows the world they’re a team,” etc. etc. ad nauseam. I said, “OK, what about if the man takes the wife’s name?”  Oooh!  Shocking concept.  She really didn’t want to think about that idea.

I recently changed my last name for professional reasons, and I chose my mother’s maiden name, to honor her.  I’d carried my father’s name around for a few decades and that was enough.  It was Mom’s turn now.  Amazingly, there were people who, when they found out, gave me odd looks and said things like, “Well…. what does your husband think about this?”

He’s fine with it, of course.  And what the hell does it matter what HE thinks of it??  It’s MY name.

I can’t believe that in this day and age, people are still having trouble with this concept.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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Friday Happy Hour

January 12, 2007

Down at the Brueghels’ place, they really know how to do a Happy Hour: 

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Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff

Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, ’tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.”
Why, if ’tis dancing you would be,
There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.
And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
The mischief is that ’twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
‘Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the snack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.
There as a king reigned in the east:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
–I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.

A. E. Housman

One can never have enough Britpoetry, unless it involves T. S. Eliot.

H.R.H. Supervixen