Archive for the ‘life’ Category

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Life Is Too Short

February 2, 2007

to hang around with anyone who’s not a feminist.  And that includes the precious little folks who say, “I don’t believe in your kind of feminism, I only believe in this kind of feminism, which is so much different.”  The hell with that shit.  You either believe in feminism or you don’t.  End of story.

Life is too short to tolerate bullies, abusers and liars – the ones in the White House, and the ones who pretend to be on our side.

As matters in the world become more urgent, it’s becoming increasingly imperative to call people on their snoolery

Don’t make the mistake of believing that because someone claims to be a “Democrat” or a “liberal” or a “progressive” that the person really IS one.

Don’t fall for the “Big Tent” line.  It’s code for “Hey babe, we’re throwing your values out the window.  Get over it.”

Speak the truth.  Stand your ground.  Tell off the thugs.  Blow the whistle.  Let your Supervixen flag fly.

It’s really not that hard.  The snools want you to think it is, but it’s not.

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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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Friday Happy Hour

January 12, 2007

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

brueghel1.jpg 

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

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The Great Task of Happiness

January 12, 2007

boywithtoad.jpg  

The Celestial Surgeon

If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain: —
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in!

Robert Louis Stevenson

What have you done today to accomplish your “great task of Happiness”?

My suggestion: turn off your TV, your radio, and your computer, and go outside to take a walk in the park.

A happy Supervixen is a strong Supervixen.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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Why Do Nothing?

January 7, 2007

Here’s an excerpt from a book by an author whom I like a lot:

Shortly before Allen Ginsberg died, I heard him chant in Central Park to the tune of his little pump-organ.  The key line that stayed with me was “It is never too late to do nothing.”  I thought then, Yes, I am too busy, step back, let it go, never see anyone again, be a hermit, go shopping once a week at 6 a.m. when the market opens, talk to seals and loons and dolphins only, and when the body gets a little more decrepit, take it out in a rowboat aimed at the horizon and blow it up with dynamite.  Carrying that plan, I wandered to the other side of the park and heard jazzy music.  There were festivities celebrating some special occasion, and thousands of uniformed schoolkids marched up Fifth Avenue in neat formations.  There were adult bands too, horsemen, dressed-up folks on National Guard vehicles.  There was a lot of energy about, but some participants were clearly exhausted.  A dozen obese girls shuffled along, weary of dragging their weights, and ahead of them there were some little guys, ten-year-olds maybe, carrying drums.  They were tired too; they had probably been at it for hours, walking down from Harlem, doing “hurry up and wait,” assembling in a dry dusty place, having their teacher fuss over them, and now there were all those other smart schools and they were just that little group, special husky kids and their undersized musicians – might as well quit now while they were still on their feet.  As despondency was about to strike I saw the chief drummer suddenly change his mind.  Why do nothing?  Why not pull down all the energy of the universe?  Some huge ray of power hit that diminutive player of a snare drum, a flash of divine lightning, and immediately his sticks hit the wooden sides of his drum, smartly, a touch of staccato – tick tack, get the show going here – using a harsh dry rattle, and then all heaven burst loose as his mates got going around him.  There was an instantaneous fusing with the spirits of Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach, and other angels that got into their awakening souls, and the small band was doing solos and joint rhythms harmonized with tricky compositions on a trumpet another boy found under his jacket that spat out the hoarsely cutting notes of Miles Davis’s “So What.”  The plump girls behind him were dancing their divinity in perfect step, trembling the brilliant cadence within their bodies, emitting rays of light that swept the Fifth Avenue audience for miles.

Emptiness took form.

From AfterZen, by Janwillem van de Wetering.

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What To Do With Pork: Recipes

January 5, 2007

Since my web stats indicate that many visitors are coming here because of a search on the term “pork sword”, it occurs to me that a recipe is in order!  I often make this wonderful spreadable pâté for parties.  It goes very well with champagne.  We had it for a recent holiday party and I’ll make it again in May for our traditional May Day party with strawberries and champagne.

I found it in a cookbook published by the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum in the 1980s.  I’m a collector of cookbooks, even the cheesy fundraising ones with the plastic bindings.  Most of those are interesting only from a cultural perspective (e.g., how many cans each recipe requires – I once found a casserole recipe that called for no fewer than 12 cans of stuff like water chestnuts, green beans, etc.) but this particular one was full of genuinely good recipes.  This is my adaptation of the one I found in the Art Museum cookbook:

Pâté Canadien

1 pound pork sausage meat

1 pound chicken livers

2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced

1 large onion, minced

1 tsp dried tarragon or 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup port wine

1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped

3 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a frying pan, slowly brown sausage meat, breaking it up with a spatula.  When cooked, drain the meat on paper towels.

Pour off all but a few tablespoons of the sausage fat from the pan.  In the remaining fat, saute the onion and garlic.  Remove to small dish.  Sauté the chicken livers in remaining fat.  When cooked through, add tarragon, parsley, and port wine.  Allow to cool.

Put sausage meat and chicken liver mixture in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.

Saute mushrooms in butter.  When thoroughly cooked, add cream and cook for a minute.  Add to bowl and mix with the sausage/liver.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into a 2-pound loaf pan or casserole dish of equivalent size. 

Cover pan or casserole with aluminum foil and place in a larger, deep pan (e.g., a lasagna pan).  Fill larger pan with about 2 inches of water, being careful not to slop water over the edge of the smaller pan.  (This is most easily done when pan is on the oven shelf.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour covered, then remove foil and bake for another half-hour uncovered.

Refrigerate a day or two so that pâté will solidify and reach its full flavor.  Serve with thin slices of French bread, melba rounds or crackers (sesame crackers are superb with it).

Enjoy!  And do share your favorite recipes – for pork, for appetizers, or anything else – in the comments section.  This will be a regular feature on Feminist Supervixens. 

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The “Little Sister” in the Frat House

January 3, 2007

Here’s the diary I wrote at Daily Kos that sparked such frantic reactions from the Frat Boys, including the Mighty Kos himself, and their loyal female “support staff”.   It was so controversial that it was deemed a “troll diary” and I was eventually banned from the site. 

I post it here in the hopes that we can have a more reasonable, intelligent discussion of the issues.

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When my husband was in surgical residency, I met many wives of doctors.  One who became a friend was a charming, talkative young woman who enjoyed throwing parties.  They were always great parties.  She was very intelligent and had a witty, wisecracky sense of humor.  She was also physically attractive – small, but athletic and at the same time curvaceous.  In a previous era, she might have been on a calendar.  Her husband was Dullsville.  The only subject he liked to talk about was the new toys he had just acquired, or was thinking of acquiring: stereo systems, cars, motorbikes, etc.  But his wife (I’ll call her Sally) had more interests.  She read a fair amount and had a degree in literature from a big Midwestern university.  She was interested in art, foreign films, and fashion photography, so she and I had a lot to talk about.

One night at one of her parties, after we had all had a few martinis, Sally told me that she had been a stripper.  She said she had done it for a lark after college.  She said it was fun having such power over men.  Many of them wanted to talk with her after she came off stage and tell her all their problems, and she would listen.  They’d tell her how beautiful she was, and then give her big tips.  So she looked at it as a kind of therapy for them, and nice for her.  I said, well, OK, that makes some sense.  It reminded me a bit of Carl Hiaasen’s novel Strip Tease, except that this woman’s family was quite well-off and she certainly wasn’t doing it for the money.

Later, at a different gathering, I heard her telling someone else this story.  And then, over time, I heard it recycled back to me by others – “Did you know that Sally was a stripper??”  So I came to realize that this was, to Sally, such an important part of her identity that she had to tell a lot of people about it.  Somehow the fact that she had had a job where men paid her for being beautiful and “sexy” validated her beauty, and hence her being.  I guess it wasn’t surprising that she ended up marrying a guy who was so obsessed with toys.

None of that bothered me much, in a feminist context, until she told me about her experiences being a “Little Sister” in a frat house at the big university.  I had never heard of such a thing – I went to a women’s college where we didn’t even have sororities.  She explained to me how the Little Sisters would help with the social agenda for the frat, setting up the parties and cleaning up after them, etc.  Then she told me about how one day she decided that the frat house bathrooms were too incredibly filthy, so she went out and got a bunch of cleaning products, put on her rubber gloves, and went in and started scrubbing away.  Nobody had cleaned them in years so there was quite an accumulation of, well, what accumulates in frathouse bathrooms.  She worked and worked and worked until she started feeling a little strange, and then she got up and staggered out of the bathroom and fainted and fell down the stairs.

Apparently she had been overcome by the fumes of all the different types of cleansers she had been using.

She told me how wonderful the frat boys were while reviving her and taking her to the infirmary, and how grateful they were that she had taken on the job of cleaning the bathrooms.

The British have a good word, “gobsmacked”, that describes my reaction to this story.  In American terms: I was completely stunned.  My jaw dropped.  I was speechless.

It was an epiphany for me.  I began to think about why women would choose that identity of being second-class citizens in a male power structure when they had an alternative.  I also thought of it in relation to the stripper story.  Is getting attention from, and catering to, men really the most important thing for some women?  If so, can they truly be feminists?

The “Little Sister in the Frat House” image has come to me often while reading DKos.  Since last year, when I suggested women’s issues to Gina as a topic for Yearly Kos and heard vague and conflicting responses from her – and then, after YKos, when there was a panel of some sort about feminism, but it hardly rated a mention afterwards, and none at all from the Front Pagers – I’ve been worried that feminists here are backing off and allowing their concerns to be subsumed into the “Bigger Picture”.  I’m worried that feminists are yet again – as many of them were in the ’60s – allowing themselves to be the watercarriers, the coffee-makers, the toilet-scrubbers, the “support staff”, the cheerleaders, the strippers and sex toys to the Big Boys who are really the movers and shakers and the ones getting their ideas across.  Time and again I hear responses to the effect of: “Yes, yes, we’re going to pay attention to your ideas and your issues when we get in power, but right now we have to focus on getting our people elected.”  Can you get me another coffee, and by the way – nice tits!

How much are we women willing to give up in order to get attention from the Big Boys in power?  How much of our identity is connected to our sense of our attractiveness to men?  Do we even have a real identity separate from men and the way they perceive us?  Are we tools/toys for them, or do they think of us as equals and fight on our side for our acceptance as equals in society?  These are all questions that come up when I think about the Little Sister in the frat house.

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Another story about my friend:

She and a few other wives of MDs had a “book group”.  She invited me to it once.  I can’t remember what book we were supposed to be discussing (I think it was something by Michael Chabon).  I said I couldn’t go because I hadn’t read the book.  She said, “Oh, that doesn’t matter!”  

When I showed up, the ladies were energetically cocktailing.  Eventually someone brought up the book.  Nobody had read more than 100 pages of it.  So they quickly segued into gossip.  This was boring because I didn’t know anyone they were discussing.  Then they went on to discuss things they would have done to themselves as soon as they had enough money to get cosmetic surgery.  They went around the circle getting everyone’s contributions in turn.  Instead of a book discussion club, it had become a “cosmetic surgery discussion club”.  When they got to me, I said I didn’t want to have anything done.  I received a barrage of glares.  My friend said, “What do you mean – do you think you’re perfect?”

That, too, was an eye-opener for me.

H.R.H. Supervixen