when Black Friday comes / I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Friday links, and I’m owning it!

1. This weekend we watched Trail of the Screaming Forehead courtesy of sundancenow.com, a project by Larry Blamire (who also helmed one of our family-favorites, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra). It was so much fun – so funny, clever, silly – and beautiful color (it was filmed in CRANIASCOPE). Truly a treat! The children laughed at the jokes but also took the “tension” very seriously!

2. At Underbellie: I published my piece for the Squat! Birth Journal. I encourage you to buy a copy (print or download). It’s a lovely zine by passionate people!

3. I was very impressed with “Ami’s Guide to Food Privilege: How classism, fatphobia, and various other “-isms” control what we eat”. Such a great 101 for the classist and orthorexic bile I am sad to say, I hear often enough – maybe even daily.

4. Join the “I LOVE MY BUM” Campaign! at The Discourse. AU Dr. Thomas continues to prove her awesomeness. I think I got firsties when I sent in my email, too. Hee.

5. “Guest Post: Transmisogyny is Misogyny Against All Women”; another one to sink your teeth into, featured at TranArchism.

6. Laurie Couture writes, in her typical direct and passionate manner, “Unschooling Parents (Not School Teachers) Best Equipped By Nature to Guide Learning”. As a friend at lunch said yesterday, she thinks parents truly aren’t aware there are options besides school or at-home-school. You know… as an aside, I would hope any of my work encourages parents to find ways to be with their children and live life well. I know I’ve made a difference – and I have people like Laurie and Wendy and Idzie and Cheyenne and Jeff and Daniel, to name a few, who’ve helped me find my own way.

7. Did y’all catch the title of the last Friday link post? [ tumbleweed blows past ] Anyway, 17 year old Fiona at Rachel Simmons’ site writes the first thing on the “Rebecca Black phenomena” I’ve seen so far that was worth reading. You know what’s pretty pathetic? Full-grown people making fun of thirteen year olds (yeah, this is happening. LOTS). And saying stuff like, “I’m going to ass-rape you” and “die in a fire” (but you know, it’s just a joke! And so are all those other instances of child abuse and terror, and actual thirteen year olds that get raped! All jokes! Um… er…). Yes. That is actually happening.

8. On a lighter note, and at The Retroist: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Memories”. As I commented, I have a special place in my heart for this film; likely primarily because I saw it as a young child. Interesting it is one of two films responsible for the PG-13 rating. Also from the Retroist: Patrick Warburton for Bugle Boy. Look, PW is a handsome guy, and that’s a very nice bod he’s sporting there outside of blue latex and all. But the soprano sax and the come-hither-I’m-dressed-in-your-shirt-teehee!, not so much.

9. “Study: 87 Percent Of Movies Would Be Better With Michael Keaton In Them”. So true!

10. While I’m excited as anyone at the so-called trend Penelope Trunk identifies in Sara McGrath’s piece, “Entrepreneur with Asperger’s on getting unschooled” (I say “so-called trend” because of course, school is the relatively new invention, not “unschooling”), I didn’t like the tone of some of her comments. Specifically: “Over the next ten years, Trunk predicts that we’ll have two classes of kids: one set who knows how to run themselves in this world and another set who needs to be told what to do.” Hissss! While I have absolutely seen many differences observable in self-direction, independence, assertion, fairness, anti-bully mindset, varied and complex social skills, and real-life skills observable in non-schooled while well-nurtured children (not just in my own children but in reading countless testimonies of other life learning / consensual living / unschooled families, children, and grown non-schoolers), I think ultimately framing parenting and childrearing in competitive terms is both a very schooly thing to do and quite unhelpful – but, unfortunately, as American as deep-friend asshattery.  In this country, raising your own children without the use of state institutional instruction/care is damned rare, and I’m wondering if the few and the brave who do it might consider distancing themselves from or even denouncing outright too much Special Snowflake MY KID WILL HAVE AN EDGE OVER ALL OTHER KIDS. Caveat: in exploring the amazing multilayered awesomeness that is life without school and non-punitive parenting, it’s been like scales falling from my eyes daily and a lovely journey. I think any amount of talking about one’s experience of this Wonderfulness is going to necessarily bring to light some of the silliness or awfulness of the live lived before, and I’m aware that be threatening for some to read. It’s a conundrum I haven’t quite figured out myself (for my part I try, when talking about our homelife, to speak in first person). I’d also point out many passionate life learners are very concerned with improving outcomes and scenarios for all children, including the 98% enrolled in compulsory schooling, and have some of the most incredible ideas about how to go about these goals.

11. Film: live-action akira adaptation: starring white people! at Angry Asian Man. This film is a classic, much beloved, and Hollywood won’t do well by it. The typical racebending aspect is just another soggy slap in the face. SMH as per usual.

12. Speaking of movies: I’m loving Anita Sarkeesian’s vlogs times one hundred. In “Tropes vs. Women: #1 The Manic Pixie Dream Girl” she does not disappoint. But you know, Portman’s character in Garden State *totally* had her own story arc. Like how she was epileptic, and her hamster died that one time.

13. Movies, again: screen giant and philanthropist and lovely woman Elizabeth Taylor dies. A lovely photo-perspective at all things amazing.

14. Bri writes a wonderful post on her experiences with a lap band. You know, that surgery that is rather dangerous and doesn’t work, but people are still quite eager about.

15. In ridiculous and gratuitous cupcake awesomeness, I submit the Cupcake Cupcake Topper and homemade Hostess cupcake cake balls (as seen on my blog yesterday).

16. Wednesday night we saw Handsome Little Devils at the college (they were fabulous!); Monday it’s the Reptile Man’s Serpentarium, and a few weeks later, the Kenya Safari Acrobats. I can speak highly of the first two experiences and I look forward to the third; what are you up to?

17. Currently listening to: Vetiver, Au PairsAdele’s “21”, and Kelis (Phoenix loves the latter two). What are you listening to?

18. Live bunnycam featuring new babies. LIVE BUNNYCAM FEATURING NEW BABIES. There is no better link to leave you with, people. P.S. a baby rabbit is called a “kitten” or a “kit”. Excuse me while I punch myself in the face. Because of the cuteness.

everybody’s working for the weekend

OK seriously, it’s 2 PM here PST and if you’re at a desk, it’s time to glaze your eyes surfing around at my assembled Friday links! The serious, introspective, serio-comic, and frivolous are all provided:

1. “Come On. Admit It!” Dial-a-Llama, or as one comment identifies: llamar una llama.

2. I’d previously seen images circulating of “The Perfect Body, As Illustrated By Olympic Athletes”; what an inspirational and informative photo-essay!

3. As a bisexual lady, I rather enjoyed this video primer: “The Bizarre World of the Bisexual” from MisterSharp.

4. Professor Kate Clancy pokes holes in evo psyche myopia in “Mate magnet madness: When the range of possible explanations exceeds your own hypothesis”; that last sentence in particular is a tangy zing! afterflavor following stellar sciencey radness.

5. This rant regarding Paper, Rock, Scissors reminds me of my brother, who I’ll bet has already thought about the logic (or lack therein) of the game.

6. Speaking of my brother, he sent me this “adorable cat image” (THE EYES).

7. For Cynthia and other fans: the Red Velvet Roundup via CRAFT. I currently have a triple-decker red velvet cooling on my counter. I’m told it’s not real Red Velvet Cake without the milk roux frosting. I’m just putting together cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla though, and I’ll bet any purists wouldn’t mind.

8. I quite enjoyed these: “Surreal Photos of Subway Cars Being Thrown Into the Ocean [Slideshow]”.

9. If you already know what’s fun and exciting about the phrase Orange Mocha Frappucino! – well now you can make them up at home!

10. Ani DiFranco’s homebirth, in her own words. FUCKING CHILLS, because of teh awesomez.

11. “Equals” – making the rounds a lot this week, the IWD PSA featuring Daniel Craig & Dame Judi Dench.

12. The New York Times reports on an alleged gang-rape and rightfully gets taken to task for the horrific way it does so: here is commentary by The Stranger in Seattle; here from PostBourgie. I’m glad people are working and speaking out about this form of reporting; I feel sad and cynical and rather pessimistic that men and women will reframe our victim-blaming societal discourse. I’m also hoping this girl and her family have strong support.

13. Ouyang Dan provides some resources regarding the Japan quake and tsunami.

14. Face/Off in Hecklevision” priemered earlier in the week. Oh dear Lord how I would have loved to go. In a similar vein, Rifftrax is releasing Highlander any minute. w00t!

15. National Geographic created a real-life version of the Up house. Adorable!

16. The Secular Homeschooler is shutting itself down. I s’pose that means I didn’t get my subscription’s worth, but I don’t much mind – except I will miss the awesomeness of the magazine. Deborah did a wonderful job in this publication; she and it will be missed.

But my all-time favorite video, link, etc. this week comes from “That Mitchell and Webb Look” through friend and reader Paige:

Herpetology

It’s finally Friday, I’m free again

The More You Know
Homographs, homophones, heteronyms, polysemes, and capitonyms – do you know the difference?

Debbie Drake’s Easy Way to a Perfect Figure and Glowing Health (Drake, 1961). You know. Before I do my scissor kicks, I fix the hell out of my hair and makeup, then put on my perkiest bullet bra.

“OTL: Dark History” at ESPN.go. A very brief glimpse into the Santa Anita racetrack and our human capacity for cruelty.

A Clinical, Searing Memoir Of Abuse in Tiger, Tiger at NPR. Library hold, placed.

“Male-Centric Plots and the Oscars” at SocImages (and then, “There Are More Sites Of Oppression Than Gender”, Womanist Musing’s response)

Amelia Earhart’s plane found? (Answer: no)

I got into Noisettes this week. It’s only a matter of time before Ralph does. Oh, and I totally know which album he’ll like.

“Talking to Your Daughter About Beauty” at The Good Men Project. Not so much a fathering article as one anyone identifying as male should consider. This is a good 101 article; sadly, there is a dearth of them, and more in-depth stuff is nary to be found. I’d love to hear a male author weigh in on this topic; men are usually so silent at speaking out against beauty performance, instead of being powerful allies.

At NPN, photos of natural birth. How fucking awesome is this? Including the following sentence: “Acknowledging that many parents cannot or choose not to have this kind of birth, next week’s photos will show other birthing experiences.”. NPN, that is rock-tastic.

Society
“Dear Brian McFadden: I was damaged after being taken advantage of”. Brian McFadden’s song “Just as you are (Drunk at the Bar”) – and every pro-date rape song out there – suuuucks. This piece illustrates why, rather well. Particularly good is Nina Funnell’s answer to “Anonymous”. Kind of stunningly good.

“Ensuring the Male Gaze” at PostBourgie. Someone wrote something pretty damn smart on the potrayal of “reverse sexism”.

“Suicide” by Jeff Sabo. This piece and the commentariat is so far an incredibly illustrative discussion of youth depression and suicide (given it is written by a non-youth). The “It Gets Better” campaign irritates me for a few reasons, one of which the tone often seems to be: don’t kill yourself, your life hasn’t even started, just wait to grow up, we won’t help you NOW.

Parenting
“Taming the Tiger Mother” by Naomi Aldort at Life Learning Magazine. Nuanced article about the balance of control vs. neglect.

“So You Want to Unschool Your Child or Teen? Yes, you CAN do it!” by Laurie Couture. What can I say, today’s all about some 101!

Make/Craft
Salted Caramels & Homemade Cadbury Eggs, both from Instructables. My friend Sophiea and I made these caramels Monday and they were delicious!

“Building Cookies is Not SEW Easy!” at Sweet Sugar Belle

“Celebrate Women’s History Month by Picking Up a Needle and Thread” at CRAFT

The Incredible Edible Abacus at The Hokey Pokey Kitchen

“Home”, a French knot masterpiece.

Hilarity
Cat vs. Internet, a comic

“Open-Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He’s Wasted Listening To Bullshit” at The Onion

Herpetology, close to our hearts:
Herpetology

"Wisdom Teeth" at xkcd

hey yo it’s pink Friday

This morning when I woke up I observed my daughter had found a discarded t-shirt of mine and slipped it on and slept in it all night.

Which I love, more than anything.

OK so, aw hells yes! Another Friday and I am scaling back my linkage, or trying to, still. And what-do-you-know, I’m still on some very similar topics. Well OH WELL, what can I say, I am just very excited about them all!

Parenting
“I don’t love you enough” by Jeff Sabo. This piece is a worthwhile refution of the “tough love” sentiment and just how bad things have gotten if you’re proud of “stalking” your child.

P.S. I emailed Jeff and he told me his blog should be up and for public viewing (earlier there were problems).

On the please-do-not-do-it-this-way parenting bit, here are some “treasures” from Love & Logic (a parenting/teaching philosophy fairly popular in my peer set which demonstrates the phenomenal and deep-level breakdown of trust that many mainstream parenting strategies perpetrate). Here’s their most recent update, on some “tough love” (same ol’ same ol’, although L&L seems to hold itself as something different than typical old-school punishment techniques) regarding shoplifting; then follow this with this delightful screed comparing children to “growling and foaming at the mouth” “rabid dogs”. Fun!

Sandra Dodd: Unschooling & Real Learning, a six and a half minute clip of a Sandra Dodd interview that I like (what she says between 0:50 and 1:01 gives me the shudders… because I have seen and experienced this firsthand). I like the word “unschooling” less and less – not that I have any problem with others using it. Maybe I’ll write more about that soon.

Health
“Iron-deficiency is not something you get just for being a lady” by Dr. Kathryn Clancy. Consider your blog FOLLOWED, Doctor-Woman!

“Lactate Your Ass Off (Or Not)”; JJ Keith drops some realities regarding breastfeeding and “baby weight”. I notice people brag about losing their baby weight (which helps other people feel terrible about themselves for this or that reason). What I know now is, that’s a pretty individualistic thing and people should consider STFU on the whole thing.

Michelle Allison asked her readers what questions they’d have for her regarding food, nutrition, and eating competence: “how to eat in front of other people” was number one (this is quite sobering and sad). The pdf material she provided in response is incredible. Even if one doesn’t think they have any issues with disordered eating, a read-through is highly recommended.

“Real Quick: Actresses who eat things are FASCINATING” by Lesley Kinzel. Ha! Nail, hit on the head. Also, “fatassery” is the best word I’ve heard this week.

Make/Craft
Fringey streamers at Oh Happy Day

Guess what’s gonna be happening in our house this next week. KOREAN COOKERY!

Just Awesomeness

National Geographic‘s Photo of the Day, won’t you?

Minecraft + pharmaceutical humor! (WIN) (& – thanks, Ryan!)
"Wisdom Teeth" at xkcd

Three years ago, Valentine by yours truly (and yes, this still happens to me)

Back to the future by photographer Irina Werning. ZOMG do I love this times one hundred.

Action Figure Slow Motion Punches:

***

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
– Charles G. Stater

Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

sunday-friday

I was all busy birthdaying things up and I didn’t throw out my Fridays. Awkward! Here they are now – and yes, I’ve tried to cut back a little from previous weeks:

Parenting
“Defending the Status Quo” by Jeff Sabo
Heck, I’ve probably posted this before. But I read it again and I can tell you – this post gives me the chills. I would like to have just ONE DAY where my choices and reality were status quo, instead of fringe or viewed as radical. ONE DAY where I wasn’t doing things differently than the mainstream. It would feel kind of incredible for other people to have to defend to me why they do the shit they do. Sure, it ain’t gonna happen. A girl can dream, can’t she?

I don’t know why, but I can’t be as frank as Jeff on some things. Even when I think he’s correct. Particularly:

“Instead of asking me to defend my decision to not spank my children, how about I ask you to defend the reason why you spank. Is spanking really the only way you can come up with to guide your children? Have you looked at other possibilities? Have you really considered what lies behind your need to have your children behave a certain way? Do you support hitting all people who behave contrary to your preference, or just the ones smaller and younger than you who have little or no standing in our justice system? How do you rationalize the difference between productive discipline and child abuse?” [emphasis mine]

And of course authoritative/authoritarian parenting doesn’t begin and end at spanking. But still. Yeah.

Sexuality
“Oprah Learns That People Don’t Grow ‘Gayer'”

Oprah impressed me here. She admitted she was wrong, in what was likely a bit of an embarrassing scenario – especially if one positions oneself as being “gay friendly” and having “good intentions”. I notice it seems that even staff who don’t personally know her well feel comfortable at being frank and openly disagreeing with her. If only all discussions on controversial issues went down like this!

By the way, I see red flags when someone says, “But I preferenced it by saying, ‘I don’t mean to cause offense!'” Reminds me of “with all due respect”:



Health
“The Big Fat Announcement: I’m Live-Blogging My Homebirth!” from The Feminist Breeder
I can’t even get across how much of a good idea this is. We need people to have a concept of birth as it can be with good prenatal care and without medicalization – and without the “ew gross!” shaming typically attendant when discussing a body that is female. I’ll totally be tuning into this!

Film
What have I watched this week? Not much, but (as I mentioned,) I did see Inception. It was fine. I like talking to self-proclaimed fans of this film. Because they cite the work as brilliant, then I ask, “OK, then what did you think ____ meant when ____?” and they usually don’t have a clue. But you know what, it’s OK to just like a film, even if you don’t know what the fuck is going on.

Last night I watched this (when will I learn?):

It was shite. Yeah, I say that, and that’s given I’ve got a soft spot for Duane Johnson (I dunno, the guy seems classy and sweet). In the film he looks bigger than ever – at times he resembled a huge grease-soaked slab of dyspeptic gristle.

Make/Craft
Today in the mail I received The Art of Manipulating Fabric, sent by my lady Karen. This book? Is simply incredible. And intimidating if, like me, one hopes to attempt a technique. But it’s gonna happen!

Today I’m making a few Indian-inspired recipes, sourced from allrecipes.com. Of all the somewhat-elaborate spice blends etc. etc. the most rewarding bit for me is making paneer (droooool).

Quotable
“I love how I am at the point in my life where I know that I can and am accomplishing everything on my own and I am for once doing it for me & [my daughter] and nobody else. Proving that I don’t need anybody…but I’m still lonely.” – from Facebook

Isn’t this the truth. Accomplishment, career, accolades, attagirls… they can’t keep loneliness at bay long, especially the existential type. Even family and friends can’t fill up (what some call) the God-shaped hole. And booze can only do it for a short period of time (trust me on this).

Random
TYPESTACHES

& *snicker*
Traffic Sign WIZARDRY

friday lynx

Hey, I just realized I completely and totally used to have far fewer featured items, and more of my chit-chat, in my Friday Links. Welp, not sure what I should do about that, if anything. There’s just TOO MUCH AWESOME SHIT on the internet, you know?

History
“Of Spaces Familiar and Not-So Familiar” at TNC of The Atlantic’s blog. We just had the anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I remember watching this – live – as a third grader. I also remember studying the o-ring failure in some fancy-ass chemistry class at UW.

Tech
“Game Written by a 14-Year-Old Passes ‘Angry Birds’ as Top Free iPhone App” at School-Survival.net

Health
“Dear Self Magazine & Her Campus” from Voice in Recovery. ViR is becoming a much-beloved blog.

“Walmart Plans to Sell Anti-Aging Makeup to Tweens” at Womanist Musings. Yes, this is for real. There’s nothing I need to add to what Renee has said.

“Medical Diagnosis in Pregnancy”. “Obstetric care for pregnant women is indeed focused on seeking out deviant results in an otherwise symptom-free patient. That’s why ‘regular’ care in pregnancy includes this huge battery of tests (well, that and the fact that these tests mean big business for hospitals). This is quite different from any other medical speciality. Generally doctors don’t seek out illnesses, unless they manifest.”

Aussie dust-up re: fat acceptance and health. Try: â€œUgh. Look at how fat that kid is.” by Dr. Samantha Thomas at The Discourse (the comments are good, but Kath’s kills me a little inside), “Let’s Get One Thing Straight”, posted by Elizabeth, and “Introducing Dastardly Donut” by Natalie. Hm, given all this, should I write a UB piece about “The Biggest Loser”, given one of my kids’ friends (who with her mother watches the show regularly) two days ago repeatedly snuck chocolate out of my cupboard (I would have said Yes if she’d just asked), then twice queried my Phoenix about her weight, then when I said, “Well, people’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, right?” said, “Yeah”, and when I asked, “So is it OK to be fat?” responded, “Yeah. Because then you have to get skinny.” YIKES

Parenting
“House Rules” by Anna Brown. They don’t really work. A piece from consensual living, reminded to me by reader Annie.

“The Magic Word” by Jeff Sabo:

“Traditional parenting often focuses on foundations like church, school, team sports, perseverance, and a host of other ideals that, they hope, will prepare their children to succeed in the real world. These parents believe that they can see the future and build a person who will succeed within it. It’s almost like a 20 year engineering project – meticulously planned, brilliantly executed, but perhaps without either passion or the ability to morph as the future becomes more clear, like building the perfect desktop computer in a world of iPads […] [W]e try control a variety of things – TV, food, sleep times, educational choices, friends and lovers – with generally positive intent, but often negative results.”

Hard to pick, but this (also by Jeff, who took a writing break but is thankfully back) is probably my favorite link this week: “The Beauty of HALO”

“People?” at Every Moment is Right. “[W]hen do we start treating children as people? When they start walking? Talking? Go to school? Leave the house? When we need their help?”

Culture & Pop Culture
“Asian Americans Still Largely Missing From Hollywood” at Colorlines

“Last Meals on Death Row” at howtobearetronaut

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany Singing “Don’t Stop Believin” Together from TheRetroist. Less “rock”, more (dino)CROC, ladies!

Guess what’s guaranteed awesome? Weird Al’s children’s book.

Race and Class
“Where is the Kenyan Crocodile Hunter?” at What Tami Said. OK seriously, points for the first person who names a popular USian nature show with a host who isn’t a white male. I’m racking my brain, but then again my brain isn’t so hot sometimes.

“Let’s Talk About Pendleton” at Native Appropriations. I was just thinking about Pendleton in terms of appropriation the other day. The article is good; the comments are as well.

Make/Craft
“Monster Valentine’s Cards for the Classroom” at makeandtakes; these won’t be as awesome as our Valentines, but they’re still pretty dern good.

Chinese New Year recipes; vegetarian steamed dumpling? 100 to yes.

Updates and News from DIY Life Zine – I highly recommend anything Idzie is working up. (& expect a zine announcement from yours truly soon as well)

Laffs
“17 Images That Will Ruin Your Childhood” from Cracked

The New Terror Alert from TeamCoco. How I fervently WISH this were the case.

Today in 1983: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank premiered on television. Trigger warning for anti-anteater propaganda.

O_o

How Decaf Is Produced

friday’s child

Health
“The International Breastfeeding Symbol in Use” at mothering.com. This gave me the shivers, imagining an America that was breastfeeding-supportive. Lovely images.

“How Do You Feel About Aging? Secrets From Ladies In Their 60s”. This article gave me mixed feelings. On one hand I think Ari does a great job highlighting, interviewing, and respecting our older population (mostly privileged ones, which goes unrecognized in the blog as far as I can tell). This is important work, as ageism decrees that older citizens are often not taken seriously by the mainstream, thrown on a rubbish heap and thought of as “less than”. So in that respect, it was lovely to hear these women’s voices and their thoughts. On the other hand, we see just how attached to the performance of beauty these women are. In the same troubling vein, Ari’s expressed thought these women are “just beginning to think about how aging affects their attitude and appearance” seems incredibly naive. Many if not most American women spend cradle-to-grave experiencing constant referendums on their appearance and we’ve internalized – oh yes – the idea that being old or showing wrinkles is about the most pathetic and catastrophic experience awaiting us all. There is no “just beginning” to it… but often times there’s no end. (P.S. I love the phrase “crone-friendly”). I sent this article and some of my thoughts to my mother, and await her response.

“What Is Gluten and Why is Gluten Free Important?” sent to my email inbox this morning by Top Food & Drug. Pretty comprehensive 101!

“Really, IRS?” at MomsRising.org
“According to an article in the New York Times, the Internal Revenue Service has determined that breastfeeding “does not have enough health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care.” Therefore, women cannot count expenses for breastfeeding supplies in their tax-sheltered healthcare spending accounts. In doing so, the IRS has ignored the guidance of experts at the Department of Health & Human Services and World Health Organization who are actively promoting breastfeeding because of its significant health benefits for mothers and children.”

Did I mention I posted my first piece on Squat! Birth Journal‘s blog? Well, I did. “Supermodel mum told to ‘put ’em away’ – unless she’s showing them to straight grownup males, natch.” Anyone reading who is interested in supporting Squat!, they are looking for content; I love they actively promote an anti-oppression framework!

And since I’m on a breastfeeding kick, two more posts:

“Silly Remarks On Breastfeeding Older Children” from mamapoekie (and yes, I have literally heard them all!)

and

“Happy Weaning”, by yours truly

Culture
“Why Should Library Have To Do A Balancing Act On ‘Sicko’?” at courant.com. The more I read about librarians the more kick-ass I realize they are. h/t eoctrl on Twitter.

“#Hollaback and Fighting Street Harassement” at Womanist-Musings. In response to this piece, but not really in response if you want my opinion, Alexander Cohen wrote “”Street harassment” and ending silencing” and @asked me if I was interested in commenting. I’m not, so far, although I hasten to add it’s not as if I think the convo is worthless. Cohen’s piece demonstrates a profound lack of interest or credence granted to women’s lived realities. A conversation can’t happen until both parties are willing to listen and just for today, for now, I don’t have the energy for it, especially given how many conversations I’m invited to.

Back to the Hollaback piece; I read the transcript, and did not watch the video. I was deeply moved by May’s thoughts on what it’s like to live a life in fear and the cost to oneself and others: “I want to build a world in which good morning means nothing more than good morning and we can say it to people who do not look or think anything like us. I think that good morning has the power to change the world and the way people live in it. […] And I think as women, we will be able to wipe that tough girl look off of our faces because we will know that no matter what we wear, no matter what we wear, no matter what we wear, that the days of ‘she was asking for it’ will be over. “

Oh, the “tough girl” bit. I’ve lived it. I still live it, sometimes (I’m now remembering my days working in male-dominated pulp mills… apparently you can be “asking for it” when wearing Carhartt’s, no makeup, and steel toe boots). It fucking sucks.

“Ableist Word Profile: Idiot” from FWD.
“Many of the ableist words which reference ‘inferior intelligence’ are actually used in settings when people want to say that someone is being thoughtless, reckless, irresponsible, or rude. So, those are all good words to use as alternatives to ‘idiot.’ One of the things about exploring ableist language is that it forces us to think about the actual meaning of a sentence; when you find yourself wanting to refer to someone as an ‘idiot’ or something as ‘idiotic’, pause and think about the meaning of what you are trying to say.”

“Death by femininity, again” at IBTP
“a titillating squirt of micro-porn to whet the insatiable appetites of typical prog-liber-o-prurient HuffPo readers.” I haaaaate HuffPo for this kind of stuff, or more specifically, for self-defining as “progressive” but being just as misogynistic as just about everywhere else. More nip slips = more page views, whee!

“Irish Apes: Tactics of De-Humanization” at Sociological Images. The subject of dehumanizing language and images fascinates me.

Race & Class
“Get Ready For The Whitest Oscars In A Decade” at Colorlines. Good thing we’re so post-race issues!

“Another 9 Year Old Girl was Killted in Arizona” – but didn’t receive national coverage. Wonder why? (Hint: I don’t really wonder.)

“Are you better off buying $200 shoes?” at SocImages. Why yes, I totally am. Thanks for the tip, Desert Companion! Hey, can I have $200? Also some rent and grocery money? I really do need “decent footwear”. And food and stuff.

“Whole Foods and the HI-LO JP Controversy” by J. Valera. HI-LO sounds awesome and like nothing I’ve personally seen. Whole Foods? Yeah, seen it.

Parenting
“Honoring our Children’s Interests” at Life Learning Magazine‘s blog. “For most of us, trust and respect come easiest when our kids’ choices and decisions are in synch with our own. Not so simple to deal with are the times when a child expresses a desire to do something with which we don’t agree, which could be anything from playing violent video games to attending school.”

I agree with this. Many parents and grownups work to manage children’s lives such that compliance is the best option for the children in question. Our mettle and spiritual strength is tested when children express something that discomforts us. Sadly, grownups are in such a position of power children often have neither the knowledge or resources to object or defy. They grow and approach adulthood… and we see cultural narratives about sullen, depressed, oppositional, rebellious, adolescents where we call them silly or worse.

Hm, I’m thinking of opting out of all that. You?

Make/Craft
Pan de los Muertos at Epicurious. We made this last night – rich, eggy, and delicious!

Quote
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Carrie Fisher

“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Random Awesomeness
How Decaf Is Produced

fridays are not pants optional

Health

I live in Washington state and it’s totally not like this! There are high fevers all the time! & hardly anyone ever does handclaps in music!!!

“Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”; a report from the USDA (pdf). According to this report my family qualifies as a “food desert” family, one we join an estimated two percent of all American families in. Ralph and I have made the deliberate choices to have a fulltime at-home parent (which means reduced income); we also spend about two and a half times the American average income percentage on (what we believe to be) nutritious, from-scratch food. This report (amongst other observations) confirms my experience this can be difficult work! (Bonus points for anyone who reads the entire report!)

“Diet for a baby” by Hathor the Cowgoddess. Yes. Baby diets are real and receiving notice and promotion. And yes. I am terrified.

And on that note – “Sunday Surf” at Authentic Parenting. Some great breastfeeding links; mamapoekie also answers some of my concerns regarding the subject.

Social
“‘No Touching’ at High School? A Student Protests!” at FreeRangeKids. This is a truly sad and nauseating measure; I am inspired (but not surprised) students have launched a petition against it.

“Hugs, Twisty: Pornsick dudes give blamer the screamin’ mimis”; A reader confesses confusion and sadness at anti-women pervasiveness in the media; commenters respond with support.

“Rejecting the notion of ‘Black People Twitter'” at What Tami Said. Whites may be unfamiliar with endemic pressure to be “a credit to their race” (a phrase that will likely always remind me of Hattie McDaniel)… and what does that say?

The other day while being served Chinese-American food by a Korean-American proprietress I remembered these two oldie but goodie entries on stuffwhitepeopledo: “Seek Authenticity” and “Carelessly Exoticize and ‘Other’ Food”. The phrase “authentic” when referring to food makes me laugh pretty hard. If you find yourself looking for “authentic” food or tourist locales, you may want to check yourself for Special Snowflake Syndrome. The story of in the second link of the The Urban Vegan’s recipe for or “Blue Mosque Ayran” reminded me of a recipe site I found when searching for an Eithiopian recipe – apparently if you eat anywhere in Eithiopia you are guaranteed to be served by Iman (yes, I know she is Somali-American).

Parenting
“The Words We Use: Living As If School Doesn’t Exist” by Wendy Priesnitz
“The generic term is “homeschooling.” For the first decade or so of the modern homeschooling movement, that word worked fine, since the few thousand of us living that way shared a general understanding that we were experimenting with something that was as far away from the school model as possible. However, as the movement has grown, the number of approaches used by families has grown too. And now, the word “homeschooling” has come to be identified with the parent-driven, school-at-home end of the spectrum. It no longer accurately describes a curiosity-based, learner-driven, self-managing style of education, which uses life and the world as its resources, and that doesn’t look at all like school. […]

“We are now seeing the next step toward a world without school. Web-based information and the devices to access it have become widely available, allowing learners to bypass schools altogether, even if they don’t consider themselves to be “unschoolers” or “homeschoolers” or have never even heard the terms before. Nevertheless, the concepts of learning and schooling are still synonymous for most people. Most have yet to leave behind the belief that one “gets” (or is given) an education through attendance at school, and that “unschooled” therefore means “uneducated.”

Of every post I submit today, this is the one I most strongly identify with – enough to cite a heavy dose of it – and I endorse every letter on the page.

“Minimalist Parenting” at Authentic Parenting. This post is very sweet but it made me think of the many “minimalist-porn” media images saturating the mainstream. I personally believe these “minimalist” lifestyles we read about in blogs and see in magazines are ones bolstered by a lot of privilege. Nothing wrong with that; I wish more eco-, ethical-, and enviro-minded bloggers and authors would own up to this privilege.

“Motherhood: Electric Boogaloo***” from Navalgazing Bajan
This is a great review, a thought-provoking read, and a wonderful guest-blogging opportunity!

“So you wanna ride in Oregon with your children??? Well…you may want to think twice…” at bikecommuters.com
My observances on “heavily debated topic[s]” that involve kids and carers is the debate is predicated on the shoulders of the following: 1. children don’t deserve the same rights as grownups, full stop; 2. a sarcastic and vitriolic response when people object to measures that make life harder for parents/carers – because “you should have thought of this before you had kids”, and 3. a total and endemic avoidance of the inherent operational and oppressive sexism that results anytime you restrict the movements of kids. Being this is a bike issue in America, this particular piece of legislation also holds that cars are mysterious elven wraiths that have nothing to do with the injuries to and death of cyclists (hey, car worshippers and rape apologists could probably appreciate one another!).

“Two Conversations” by Jeff Sabo (now blogging at Daddy 365)

Pop Culture
“Donkey Kong High-Score Belongs To Hank Chien Again!” at The Retroist

Art
“Beefranck’s Emporium – The Be Nice Project”

I think it’s obvious this Ghostbuster Wedding Cake is ART and food – simultaneously.

Make/Craft
“French Fridays, Uhm, Sunday, with Dorie: Gnocchi a la Parisienne” shared by reader and friend Jeanne
I put the source book on my library holds. I can’t wait to make these although the one time I tried Béchamel sauce my results sucked.

“How to supreme an orange” at freshcatering. If you’re buying oranges here in the PNW, navels and bloods are the way to go.

Plush Mollusk Anatomy at WunderKammer

“DIY Sriracha”: Why would you need to? I dunno, maybe to see if there are additional layers of DELICIOUSNESS to plumb!

Tweet of the Week
Linked to this. Cool beans.

Quotable
“Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone. This is the ancient law.” – Buddha (posted by mamapoekie)

Random Awesomeness
“This is groovy”, from The Stranger and as shared by reader and friend Jeanne

Even my curmudgeony ass-heart got pretty soft for this. A very cool viewing of a very personal yet public event.

America is for Americans

freaky friday

Quotable
Something I wrote last Friday was quoted at both The Life Learning (Unschooling) Happiness Project and Life Learning Magazine. I love it when I’m quoted without an accompanying descriptor, hee. And in the case of Life Learning I mean look who else is quoted there. Come on. Who wouldn’t feel just a teensy bit awesome about that?

Culture & Pop Culture
“A Decade of Fear” from Information is Beautiful
I wonder how many people think of the toll that obsessive fear plays on our own and others’ psyche.

Kanye’s new video got leaked, so they’ll be much this-and-that discussion. Right out of the gate PostBourgie and Ta-Nehisi Coates came forth with pieces I enjoyed.

Refiguring the Passive Girl Toy at SocImages (Yeah, that’s me that made the submission. SocImages has the readers do a lot of their legwork, I think they should work harder on the linky-love, but then what do I know. I have a tiny site with small readership).
The first commenter asserts girls won’t like having their toys chopped up (so I guess this person doesn’t understand the concept of a child owning his/her own toys and getting to make that decision on their own?). Never fear, many readers (several of which who were once, you know, actual girls) chime in with how very much they DID like hacking their toys. Yarp.

Health
The new issue of Squat! is available. If you’d like you can read last summer’s first issue gratis, which features a piece by reader and friend Kat (“Unassisted Birth Story of David Elijah Kirkwood”).

From The Unnecesarean: “Nitrous Oxide for Laboring Women in the United States”. I am truly gobsmacked with what women face in the hospital, this form of low-risk and near instantaneous assistance (which has the additional advantage of being in the mama’s control) is not available.

Some perspective on the obese monsters who are Ruining America (and the concern trolls who love them), brought to us by Idzie’s tumblog and from Fat Heffalump.

Work
“A Plentitude of Work” by WendyPriesnitz: “unjobbing”, not just for SNAGs anymore.

Race
Re: Huckleberry Finn – I read easily a half dozen pieces this week. I enjoyed the summation “Voices: The Huckleberry Finn Controversy” at Racialicious, Renee’s perspective, and The N-word belongs in “Huckleberry Finn”, by Elon James in “This Week in Blackness” at Salon

This isn’t a case of political correctness. This is a case of being racially uncomfortable [ … ] America, in its constant obsession with being seen as “awesome,” will actively try to Photoshop its own historical portrait. (Um… is this last sentence pretty much the best sentence I’ve read about America? Yeah. I think so)

“Nickelodeon Gets Diversity Points, But Still Overlooks Race” at Colorlines

Also from Colorlines: “Two Young Girls Climb U.S./Mexico Border Fence in 18 Seconds”; please do watch both videos.

“Racists Totally Freak Out Over Muslim ‘Batman of Paris'”; this came to me via Ralph. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen (white) fanboys froth at the mouth regarding the God-given imperative to cast white actors in supposedly white-sourced roles. Guess how many mainstream Hollywood films have featured black superheroes as title character? No, guess. (I’d cite non-black poc statistics but I actually don’t know the answer on that one).

Make/Craft
Milk Punch at smittenkitten (h/t Paige). We made a non-booze version and it was delicious; Ralph especially enjoyed it.

The Soul Roll by Emeril. Made this two days ago and? Yeah. Delicious. Do make the sweet cornbread with this meal. It perfectly balances the NOMNOMNOMness.

Environment
“It is the main topic along the border. And the strange thing is it’s very hard to find anyone for it.” Speaking of the U.S./Mexican border fence, as the largest country-dividing construction since the Great Wall of China (h/t reader and friend Jeanne), the levels of suckery are boundless: “The US-Mexico Wall, it’s Borderlands, Wildlife, and People” from triggerpit. Beautiful, amazing photos and a wonderful and informative perspective in the text.

“Nobody disagrees on how this is affecting the environment, the only disagreement is how important the environment is in the overall discussion.” Ana Cordova, Ph, D, Institute for Northern Border Studies. US-Mexico

Tweet Of The Week
Yeah, I totally agree.

Random Awesomeness
America is for Americans

No matter how mean the internet is sometimes, mashups #FTW:

it’s Friday so that means linkage

Actually that’s not true. I’ve never been one to do any kind of ritual on my online journal with any kind of regularity. But here’s some good stuff.

Trigger warning: the first section of these links discusses bullying and education.

American Culture:
“Why I Think Unschooling Is The Best Option… For Everyone” by Idzie

Today on Twitter Idzie wrote:

People are terrified of a lack of control. Utterly terrified. Of other people giving up control over them, of giving up control over others… Or at least that’s the way it seems to me, from the reactions you get at any suggestion of freedom! … It seems so many ppl have felt excluded & judged in unschooling circles or by other unschoolers… This makes me so sad every time I hear it. & also makes me really hope I haven’t contributed to it myself. I try to be welcoming to all ppl interested in/supportive about/considering unschooling, while still expressing my own opinions honestly & authentically, despite the fact they might upset some people.

I really relate to what she’s written here; and I know I myself I’ve likely caused offense while trying so hard to communicate my own reality as well as ideas and worldviews that have changed our lives in the most amazing fashion.

Yet it must be pointed out that many who react with anger and accusations are reacting to ideas that upset them, oftentimes for reasons they have not yet examined; many were hostile to these ideas from the second they were first exposed but have not taken the steps to unpack that hostility and fear. Given that environs when discussing consensual living, punitive-free parenting, and autodidactic education, I’d like to remind those of us writing (and talking and singing and living) it’s almost impossible for us to not elicit angry reactions.

Do people in life learning/unschooling/attachment parenting groups say exclusionary, insensitive, dogmatic, harmful, ignorant, or incorrect things*? Absolutely! Especially that latter group – at least in my experience. No group or ideology is above committing wrongs. However is is hard for me to engage at length with the words of those who are already hostile to my ideas and have dismissed my body of work and research without their own investigation. If they won’t give me the respect of entertaining my “expertise” (such as it is) they can learn little from me – although I don’t mind learning from them.

Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is surprising to me how few people can even entertain my thoughts (which weren’t mine originally, usually), although conversations with those who can – and their individual interpretations, whether supportive or critical or additive – is one of the rich pleasures in my life.

***

“Opinion: Sometimes It’s OK To Let Your Kid Be Bullied” on parentdish
OK, first I’m not even going to get into dissecting the “THAT MOM” trope (overinvolved, controlling, elevating her child to sainthood – mostly just another strawlady), or the chills that ran down my spine at the stalwartly unreflective “we sometimes fight battles that would be better solved on the playground or by the people who are paid and trained to educate our children”, OR to weigh in to claim this parent (mom) did something wrong or went amiss in how she handled her daughter’s scenario.

The article starts to go wrong for me here: “Stepping in to micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life is a mistake. It robs children of the ability to deal with conflict and rejection. It saps their independence. It labels them, in the eyes of their peers, teachers and administrators, as weak.”

“Micro-manage every aspect of your kid’s life”. In my experience observing parents/carers this is far more rare than pop-psych anecdotal “truthy” pieces would have you believe (this fable usually exists parallel to much pearl-clutching and table-pounding about “helicopter parents” and “useless” “kids today”). Interestingly Life – that “real world” people are always talking about? – is FULL of adversity and hurdles and stumbling blocks. Parenting compassionately means we usually get to watch with joy how our children handle these episodes, knowing we have their trust and they have their self-trust – because we have their back. I can know my children’s lives will be filled with difficulties and limitations, I don’t have to make more of them nor artificially create them (Example, my daughter wants a pony, guess why we can’t get one? No need whatsoever for me to furnish false “natural consequences”, see also some pieces on “sheltering” and “adversity” in numbers #15 – #17 on this list). Helping our children when they’re being fucked-over is not the same at all as “micro-managing” NOR is it done (in my case) based out of a trembling Mama-Bear “hysteria” so many like to snark about (in fact, from reading this author’s self-stated feelings regarding her children’s sufferings, I am in comparison entirely unflappable to my child being “hurt” – because I know she can handle it until she can’t, and gee, how do I know this? Because I know she knows she can get help from me if she needs it).

I could write pages on this, and maybe I will soon.

I recently heard a local parent talking about how there’s a natural “pecking order” on the playground and we adults should stay out of it. I don’t have room or energy to write the many ways I think that sounds like a terrible idea (new reasons occur to me daily in fact). Incidentally this man’s own son – who is often at my house, this summer spending more time with me than his own parents – used to often try to bully my own children (unsuccessfully), occasionally attempts to extort money from them, tells falsehoods when confronted and won’t make eye contact (lying is not so much an inevitable child behavior as could be better described as one most parent/teaching regimes wholly facilitate by their oppressive tactics). He’s reformed quite a bit in our household since he’s realized I’m not about to “punish” him or ream him out, although I can’t allow him at our house if he keeps breaking our chicken eggs purposefully – for example. Outside my kitchen window, when he thinks no adult can hear him, I hear him shouting at other smaller children they are “retards” and they need to “get off [his] property… or [he’s] calling the cops.”

I know many children who behave one way around adults and other ways when they think they are unobserved. It isn’t the children who’ve initiated this regrettable state of affairs, either.

And both for this author and the local parent; really? This “pecking order” is OK or a “natural” and relatively harmless part of social life? I completely disagree. Sadly, this story was just posted regarding a 16 year old boy’s bullycide – a semi-local school, where with sickening familiarity I read: “The school says it never received any complaints about bullying from the boy or his parents.”

Right. Let’s continue to let “kids be kids” on this bullying thing.

***

Two great articles from Australia (but relevant, IMO, to similar discussions in the US) on health, fat, obesity, dieting, and body image: “Talking Fat” by Elizabeth at mymilkspilt and “Health Hysteria: Helpful or Harmful?” by Dr. Samantha Thomas at The Discourse. Great posts and analyses I can add nothing to.

Mamapoekie’s brief post on stalking deserves more than just my comment. The topic is in my thoughts right now – for reasons I can’t divulge in this space, sadly.

Inspiring:
My sister says some of these were so beautiful they made her cry. I feel the same way.

I’m currently reading: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serrano. This is a pretty amazing book. I’m sad it’s likely under-read as many cisgendered people don’t understand it’s hardly a “fringe” topic or treatment at all, but at the heart of human right questions entirely salient for us today.

“the dangerous spiral of criticism & how to claw your way back out” at Scoutie Girl: “Instead of reaching for big, bigger, biggest, we reach for safe & allowable. Self-consciousness refuses to let you create art. It only allows for ‘nice.’ Ew.”

Shop:
Support an awesome homeschooling mama with some uncertain financial “adventures” ahead of her. Also: handsewn, so you can’t go wrong there!

I want to buy this for Phoenix, so bad. She loves creepy 50s horror comics times ONE MILLION.

Who wants a sexy little rockabilly dress homesewn? Fuck, who doesn’t?

Fun:
Twisted Vintage
Lovely images and weirdness (Ah… this image from The Postman Always Rings Twice, some real sexiful there!), some altered and some as they were; lots of great Halloween content! Um, don’t read the comments. At least the one comment thread I clicked on was full of misogyny, including comments by the post author, and a bit of homophobia, etc. Gross.

Please provide a caption for this picture.

Craftzine is having a Halloween contest. You got the chops for it?

***

* Recent example: an unschooling group brought me an email wherein a member called another person’s daughter an “illiterate, foul-mouthed slut.” This went unchecked by the moderator (as have a few other problematic incidents); I may not stick around this community much longer.

Comments: For any new readers today: I don’t want to hear word-one about “controlling” parents (moms), go anywhere else on the internet and discuss it, you’ll find entirely receptive audiences.