Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Friday, January 28, 2005
Coffee And Shaw Update

Shaw finally posted his version of events... it's like hearing our conversation in stereo. Except not really.
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Thursday, January 27, 2005
Public Service Announcement


We like it dry.


Ladies, are you too wet? You know... down there? Does your less-endowed conservative Christian husband find that he just can't get any traction when he's making his monthly deposit to your Godly Vessel? Is this not the creepiest attitude towards sex you've ever encountered?

Anyway, the nice Christian couple who make AbsorbShun natural powder is here to help:

Hi Ladies,

I had the same excess moisture problem you have. Then I discovered AbsorbShun natural powder. Now lovemaking is wonderful again!

Yes, nothing spells sexual fulfillment like a dry, dry, bone-dry vagina.

AbsorbShun is a fine powder that is 100% all natural. It's like Nature's Way of solving our problem. I love that AbsorbShun natural powder is easy to use and starts working immediately.

Your man will say he feels bigger -- you could feel that, too!

God forbid any sloppy lady-juices should make your man feel... er... smaller... or something. Enduring itchy discomfort and painful friction is your wifely duty to your husband.
You're in control. You control the exact amount of lubrication you want and how tight you want to feel by how much and how often you use AbsorbShun. Personally, I find 2 - 3 applications during our lovemaking keeps us going strong. You may need less. AbsorbShun is my way to intimacy, fulfillment and great sex!

Try it for yourself! With the money back guarantee, there is no risk.

Happy in Love,

Cynthia Koss

Eeech... what fucking freaks. No wonder Christians are so anti-sex... they think it's supposed to hurt.

Let's cut to the chase... basically, this is a conservative Christian company trying to sell you 6.5 ounces of cornstarch (sorry, "the finely pulverized cells of an unmodified, naturally occurring maize plant") for $34.95 plus shipping and handling, plus sales tax where applicable. Praise Jesus! (Extra points awarded for finding a way to work the word "shun" into the name of a purported marital aid.)

PS: Don't miss the FAQ, where you'll find helpful hints, like using a "protein conditioner" -- like Mane 'N' Tail -- to reduce any soreness after use of AbsorbShun, and that you shouldn't use it with multiple partners. (Eh? Why not?)
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Good News For My Friends Back In Memphis

Guess what, kids...

'Blue' radio to debut in Memphis

Entercom Memphis will change the call letters of radio station WJCE-680AM on Friday, and will launch a liberal talk radio format under the name Progressive Talk 680 WWTQ-AM, broadcasting the Air America Radio network.

(...)

The station's new format will offer current political topics, social activists, occasional comical twists and "a creative approach to liberal talk by the best artists available," he says. It also will offer local news, weather and traffic.

(...)

The station's scheduled lineup kicks off at 5 a.m. with "Morning Sedition" and ends at midnight with "The Mike Malloy Show." Franken will be on the air from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The other programs currently on the schedule include "Unfiltered," "The Randi Jones Show" [sic: it's Randi Rhodes - S.N.] and "The Majority Report."

WWTQ-AM's signal reaches Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri, making it the most powerful AM signal in the region, according to Entercom.

Memphis Business Journal

That's even better than we've got here in blue, blue Windham County, Vermont -- we only get Franken, Rhodes and Shultz. Of the three I liked Randi Rhodes the best... she never, ever seems to agree with her callers (even the liberal callers), but she's pretty cool otherwise. Mike Malloy, of course, kicks ass.

The inevitable march of liberalism across the nation continues. Republicans, we're coming for your goddamn "family values" first.

In other news, if you have a few spare minutes, some good bandwidth, and a little curiosity, you can go see a strange little film three of my buds from Memphis (Ben with the beard, Andrew in the hat, and Tim, the blone one) made. I don't really understand it, either... but with those guys, understanding it has never really seemed to be the point. (All hail Mat for doing the website.)
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Jesus

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thirty-one U.S. troops were reported killed in a helicopter crash and five more died in insurgent attacks Wednesday in the deadliest day for American forces since they invaded Iraq 22 months ago.

(...)

The military confirmed casualties to reporters but gave no figures, as search and rescue teams scoured the area. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

"Obviously, anytime you lose life it is a sad moment," Bush told a White House news conference. Mounting U.S. deaths have increased public pressure for a clearer exit strategy from Iraq.

Four U.S. Marines were killed in action in Anbar province, and an American soldier died in a rocket-propelled grenade attack north of Baghdad, U.S. officials said.

(source)

George W. Bush is a swine.

PS: Critics will point out that no matter what Bush said in response to these deaths, I would find it incorrect. And that's exactly right. Bush had the opportunity to make the right decision regarding Iraq back in March of 2003, and he did not. Since then, every decision and every move is by definition a wrong one. No amount of wiggling will erase his first barbaric, grossly incorrect choice.

Update: And apparently, this is going to continue for two more years (at least). Where will the money come from? Where will we find the troops? And what's the fucking point?



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Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Alberto Gonzales Sucks Monkey Cocks, Part II

I concur:
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. In this case, we, the undersigned bloggers, have decided to speak as one and collectively author a document of opposition. We oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General of the United States, and we urge every United States Senator to vote against him.

As the prime legal architect for the policy of torture adopted by the Bush Administration, Gonzales's advice led directly to the abandonment of longstanding federal laws, the Geneva Convention, and the United States Constitution itself. Our country, in following Gonzales's legal opinions, has forsaken its commitment to human rights and the rule of law and shamed itself before the world with our conduct at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The United States, a nation founded on respect for law and human rights, should not have as its Attorney General the architect of the law's undoing.

In January 2002, Gonzales advised the President that the United States Constitution does not apply to his actions as Commander in Chief, and thus the President could declare the Geneva Conventions inoperative. Gonzales's endorsement of the August 2002 Bybee/Yoo Memorandum approved a definition of torture so vague and evasive as to declare it nonexistent. Most shockingly, he has embraced the unacceptable view that the President has the power to ignore the Constitution, laws duly enacted by Congress and International treaties duly ratified by the United States. He has called the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

Legal opinions at the highest level have grave consequences. What were the consequences of Gonzales's actions? The policies for which Gonzales provided a cover of legality - views which he expressly reasserted in his Senate confirmation hearings - inexorably led to abuses that have undermined military discipline and the moral authority our nation once carried. His actions led directly to documented violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and widespread abusive conduct in locales around the world.

Michael Posner of Human Rights First observed: "After the horrific images from Abu Ghraib became public last year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted that the world should 'judge us by our actions [and] watch how a democracy deals with the wrongdoing and with scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes.'" We agree. It is because of this that we believe the only proper course of action is for the Senate to reject Alberto Gonzales's nomination for Attorney General. As Posner notes, "[t]he world is indeed watching." Will the Senate condone torture? Will the Senate condone the rejection of the rule of law?

With this nomination, we have arrived at a crossroads as a nation. Now is the time for all citizens of conscience to stand up and take responsibility for what the world saw, and, truly, much that we have not seen, at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, and we urge the Senate to reject him.

Daily Kos

Confirming Gonzales as AG would do nothing but declare to the world that the United States condones and is willing to use torture. The shreds of our credibility would be destroyed utterly, the remaining goodwill that the world feels towards our country (if not to our leadership) would wither and die. Gonzales must be opposed and rejected for the good of the entire country. We cannot afford the message that his confirmation would send; there is far too much at stake.
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They Don't Mean Much

Get yer Oscar nominations.

My first prediction: the Best Documentary award will be (rightly) won by Born Into Brothels. It's truly an amazing movie, and the academy will prove to be complete suckers for cute little Indian street urchins who take amazingly beautiful photographs. The doc category is one of the few non-tech categories that's still generally won by the best film... yes, Super Size Me is great, but it's not "Great". And you still need to be pretty capital-G Great to win this category.

For doc short, I'm leaning towards The Children of Leningradsky, but that's probably just because it's the only nominee I've seen. (Well, no, I saw Sister Rose's Passion, too, and it's good, but not as good.)
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Coffee And Shaw

Our little group, it's always been, and always will until the end...

I had coffee with my old college buddy Shaw last night; he was in town for a job interview (selling newspaper advertising... it should tell us something about the state of our economy and society that a former editor-in-chief has been reduced to pushing ad space), and we managed to meet up to hash over the old days and our current lives and everything that's gone on inbetween.

Shaw was better at keeping up with people than me... he hasn't maintained ties with everyone, but I didn't maintain ties with anyone so he's still a relative motherlode of information. He told me of the fates of most of our little circle of friends -- the marriages, the divorces, the troubled lives, the booze and drugs, the sicknesses and losses, the estrangements and reconciliations and all the other messiness. We discussed the seeming decimation of our generation ("I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness... or at least grinding hopelessness..."), the bizarre-ness of my return to the scene of our shared idealistic youth, our despair at the state of our world and our hopes for some improvement soon, or for at least an exhilerating collapse. We covered a lot of ground in a few hours.

In some way, I think seeing Shaw was exactly what I needed at this point... a friend from back in the day, a means of looking my implicitly-hovering past square in the face, but also a way to put that past into disillusioned, 30-ish perspective. It was like a really great two-person ten-year reunion. And it was comforting -- for all my little disappointments and failures, I haven't done so badly; I haven't made any of the really huge mistakes, I've made it this far without any serious regrets. And I've done some things that were entirely positive, I've managed to become more-or-less the person I wanted to become when I left here (admittedly that person hasn't gotten everything she hoped to have by now, but I consider that the less important issue.) As Shaw said last night, we've all made it to 30 (give or take, I've still got just under a year to go), and we'll all probably make it to 40. But even thinking in those terms probably says a lot about how far we've come since 20.

It underlined again for me the differences between me and my current "peers"... it's not as if I could go back to my dorm and share the evening's experience with the kids I live amongst; they can't even conceive of it. But then, I couldn't either when I was their age. They'll have to find out for themselves... and they will.

I'm sure Shaw will have something to say as well when he posts again... I'll update this with a link if/when he mentions it.

In other news, anybody who has breathed the same air as me at any point during the last few years will be relieved to learn that I do not -- repeat, DO NOT -- have tuberculosis. Yay! Yay on me!

I have my first screenwriting class today, and my academic work has officially commenced: I spent yesterday evening making notes on the first hundred or so pages of some book or other. I feel secure is saying that my passion for my subject is at an appropriately high level... I spent much of the night contemplating the end of the film idustry as we know it, and pondering the idea that Peter Jackson's current project -- a remake of King Kong -- is perhaps both tragically backwards and very appropriate. (Is it possible the man doesn't actually have any original ideas? Every time people discuss him -- particularly among NZers this statement comes up repeatedly -- they mention his talent for the witty use of convention, but is that really all he's got? I think a good case can be made. I could rant on the subject for rather a long time, but I'm saving it up for the papers.) Also, I was chagrined to find that the filmmakers I most immediately identify as insufferable wankers -- von Trier, Godard, Wim Wenders -- appear to be the most attuned to the impending changes in filmmaking. I don't want them to be right, but they are... Wenders particularly "got it." That useless drunken kraut.

I'll leave you today with a couple of images from the post-snowstorm campus. Props to whomever took the images; I can't find any credits for 'em. Click the image for a larger version.


administration building


dining hall


PS: I know I don't have to tell you what the opening quote is from.

PPS: Off-topic, but there's an interesting article on liberal secession (with an emphasis on Vermont) in today's Salon. It'll never work, and it's not a great idea, but it's a pleasing fantasy in today's political climate.

Naylor is undeterred. He offers that no state is more historically prepared for going it alone than Vermont, which he calls "the most radical state in the Union" in terms of town meetings and direct democracy. Vermont, Naylor says, was the first state to outlaw slavery in its constitution of 1777, the first to mandate "universal manhood suffrage," and is currently one of only two states that allows incarcerated felons to vote. It has no death penalty and virtually no gun-control laws, yet remains one of the least violent jurisdictions in America. It has no military bases, no strategic resources, few military contractors. All three members of its congressional delegation voted against the Iraq war resolution.

Vermont is rural and wild, with the highest percentage of unpaved roads in the nation, the highest percentage of residents living in the countryside; it was the first state to ban billboards alongside highways. It is rebellious: It fathered Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and 200 years later elected Howard Dean. With its vigorous environmental-impact laws, Vermont fended off the depredations of Wal-Mart superstores longer than any other state; Montpelier is the only state capital in America without a McDonald's restaurant. Following mock secession debates in seven Vermont towns in 1990, all seven voted for secession.

You'll have to watch an ad first, but it's relatively painless.
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Sunday, January 23, 2005
Quite Pleased With Myself

I wish to re-iterate everything I said about snow around Christmas: New Englanders laugh at the amount of snow it takes to shut down the south. On Christmas Eve-eve in Memphis we got, what, maybe as much as an inch of snow? And over that tiny amount the entire region was all but shut down for days. I made the trip from N. Miss to Memphis and back a few times during those days, and it was considered a nearly heroic effort, requiring phone calls home when I reached my destination to make sure I'd survived. Yes, it's harder without the luxuries of snow plows and salt trucks, but still... it was only an inch of snow, folks. You'd think the world had ended.

Yesterday, around 4 PM, it started to snow here. I went out and drove the first of my two evening van runs anyway. I was a little nervous to be sure -- I hadn't driven in any significant snow in seven years, and I was debating whether to mischieviously tell my passengers that they were being driven down a steep, curvy mountain road through heavy snow by a girl from Mississippi who hadn't put her snow driving skills to work in better than half a decade, but I decided the stress would be too much for all of us. And it was a long, slow trip, frought with tension (I couldn't see jack through either the forward or rear windshields), but I got our townie students home safely, got myself and a few intrepid shoppers back up the mountain (one of the young men riding on the return trip rewarded me with an admiring "nice" upon being deposited outside the dining hall, I think for scaling a treacherously slick, steep hill on the campus approach), and then got myself back to my remote dorm in once piece. My late van run was cancelled -- nobody was going into town on a night like that anyway -- so I got to spend the long night watching the snow pile up outside.

By this morning we had accumulated, by my guess, roughly 24 inches of snow. I spent an hour digging out my nearly-completely buried car, got to campus, and did my morning van run as well. If there's such a thing as a van driver earning their wings, I think mine are now assured.

I scoff at your inch of Christmas snow. I wish I had some good snow boots, though... and I wish I hadn't already lost my mittens. And a hat would be nice. On the other hand, I have discovered that weekend brunch is left unguarded in the dining hall, meaning that self-catering students like me can sneak a plate of pancakes on late weekend mornings.

If I had a camera phone I would show you what this place looks like today. It's really beautiful.
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