Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dana versus the woodpecker

Yesterday evening around dusk as I lay relaxing in my bed with a book and in that lazy, peaceful place just on the verge of napping, I was startled out of bed by a loud, rhythmic tapping coming from the front of my house. It sounded like someone impatiently rapping on one of the sliding glass doors leading out to the deck. As I groggily stumbled out to the living room ready to curse at whoever had the gall to interrupt my respite, I caught the out-of-focus fluttering of an avian figure as she flitted away from the window. Oh well, I shrugged, some bird got disoriented and decided my window looked like a worm or something, but now it's gone. So I crawled back into the warm embrace of my blankets,
infected with happy thoughts about the strange wonders of the animal kingdom.

Ah, but how wrong that slumbrous assumption turned out to be. Promptly at 7 am this morning I again heard the murderous rapping. I shook off whatever (usually macabre but otherwise quickly forgotten) dream-webs were still wending their way through my semi-unconsciousness and again staggered out of bed. The scene in that brilliant Hitchcock movie flashed through my half-asleep mind - was this one bird the harbinger of a deadly hoard soon to lay siege to my fortress-home? Had I unwittingly done something to offend my avian brothers and sisters to warrant such attacks?

What struck me as even more odd was that my usually perky guard dog Emmitt, who every day vigorously greets the arrival of the school bus, the mail person's compact car, any arrival or departure of neighbors and even passing trucks with a peppering of barks and growls, had not made a peep during either of these cacaphonic affronts. Was my faithful friend in league with these feathered rapscallions in some sort of bizarre and brazen coup attempt? Or did he know more about this than he was letting on and was even now only feigning sleep while really cowering down into his doggy-bed in fear? Or was he just getting old and deaf - he is after all 77 in human years...

The front of my house consists primarily of two sets of large, sliding glass doors. On the outside, separating the panes within each set is a thin strip of wood, maybe four inches wide. It was the right-most strip that was the focus of the still unviewed bird's assault. As I peeked around to get a better view from the kitchen, I caught the unmistakable levering, crimson-maned hammer-head of an as yet unidentified species of woodpecker. I should have prefaced all this by stating that I don't know shit about the maintenance practicalities of being a homeowner, or carpentry or any other of the skill crafts, but I did know that having a woodpecker try to dig it's home into mine was not good. I only hoped that these last two attacks were only the beginning and that this woodpecker had not already been hard at work tearing up my woodwork for the last week while I was at work. And that his object of attraction was not that bane of all homeowners existence; termites.

After a short return to slumber and a quick consult with the guru of easy answers, Google, I set about the task of preparing my defenses against further picadae incursia. To that effect and not wanting to waste any more time of my weekend than I had to, I hastily tacked up some thick, folded-over plastic sheeting over these strips of wood. I sort of wanted to get a picture of one of these magnificent creatures before doing so, but I also wanted to discourage the actions before it went any further. So that's how it stands now. I only hope my little plastic fix doesn't just result in providing a natural sound buffer to more pecking rather than an actual deterrent.

Either way, I'm going to mark this epic battle down as a win in personkind's never-ending war to eliminate all peaceful co-existence with nature...

Friday, March 24, 2006

the prejudice triple-whammy award goes to...

You thought being transgendered resulted in a lot of prejudice being aimed your way? Try being an athiest, lesbian trans like myself! A new University of Minnesota study found that athiests are the least trusted minority group in the country. We're considered less trustworthy than Muslims, gays and lesbians, recent immigrants and probably convicts as well.

Sheesh - talk about no respect!

How about serial rapists and heroin addicts - we gotta at least be ahead of them, don't we.....?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dana doings update

Lots o' happenings in my life, only some of which I will share tho:
  • done with laser sessions! $1800 later and free of the encumbering weight of a 5 o'clock shadow (plus I got a couple free zaps on my chest and underarms) - an awesome feeling. I may need to polish off a few stray hairs later in the year with electrolysis, but I'll worry about that if when the time comes...
  • my comfort level out in public is very high these days. People often tell me that they couldn't tell which of course brings a smile to my face. My voice is even improving - I'm mostly not self-conscious of it anymore which helps loads!
  • I can't bowl. Went last weekend for the first time in years - had a blast but my straight-as-an-arrow delivery resulted in way too many splits. Plus - when did three games of fucking bowling for 2 cost $20 (and thats not counting the shoes!!!). On an up note I did score over 100 twice with a high of 123! Also - I noticed that the bowling alley shoes are getting as tacky as can be. My guess is that since similar styles of shoes that were popular in bowling a decade ago are selling out on the market for primo prices today, that the bowling industry had to do something to stem the tide of stolen shoes. Hence the garish day-glo pink, yellow and green adorning the cheaply made outsides of my smelly pair...
  • It's starting to look like I may have to put off my surgery until early next year. Financial projections are running short. But dammit, I've waited way too long already! Still a possibility for this November, but we'll see...

stupid right-wing pundit tricks

Check out some of the right-wing's brightest pundits and their thoughts and predictions about the Iraq war during its run-up and initial weeks - amazing how arrogant and totally wrong these people were at the time. Think a single one of them has recanted or repented?...

Here are just a couple nuggets from the article:
Weeks after the invasion of Iraq began, Fox News Channel host Brit Hume delivered a scathing speech critiquing the media's supposedly pessimistic assessment of the Iraq War. "The majority of the American media who were in a position to comment upon the progress of the war in the early going, and even after that, got it wrong," Hume complained in the April 2003 speech (Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/25/04). "They didn't get it just a little wrong. They got it completely wrong."

Hume was perhaps correct--but almost entirely in the opposite sense. Days or weeks into the war, commentators and reporters made premature declarations of victory, offered predictions about lasting political effects and called on the critics of the war to apologize. Three years later, the Iraq War grinds on at the cost of at least tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Around the same time as Hume's speech, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas declared (4/16/03): "All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent. Otherwise, they will return to us in another situation where their expertise will be acknowledged, or taken for granted, but their credibility will be lacking."

Full article here:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

inaction jacksons

Let me state this unequivocally at the start: I am ashamed of my country. Why is this so? Isn't America still the greatest democracy in the world? Don't I appreciate the material comforts and advantages that the wealth and power of this nation allow me?

The answer to all these questions is yes - but a very qualified yes because I can't help but think that all these advantages come at a steep price - and that price seems to be getting higher every year, especially for those of us in the middle and poorer classes. Here's some reckoning that I've done in trying to tally up these costs; and the effect these costs have on the vast majority of Americans, not to mention our fellow sisters and brothers around the world:

  • Champions of Torture: there is no two ways about this - our country is the poster child for hypocrisy when it comes to torture and human rights. We condemn others for doing it but demand that our own government retain the right to torture when it deems it necessary. This path cannot lead anywhere but straight down the ethical tube where many other governments, both democratic and dictatorial are sure to follow.
    "Every generation or so an evil arises which is so monstrous, so degrading to the human spirit, so morally bankrupt that even to debate it is a sign of moral corruption. Native American genocide, slavery, totalitarianism, and Jim Crow laws are evils so unspeakable that we cannot understand today how anyone with a shred of decency could have once supported them. Today, torture, a practice far more degrading to us than to our victims, represents such an evil.
    The issue has become urgent because Bush has chosen to demand the legal right to torture anyone he wishes. " - from Fred Branfman: On Torture and Being "Good Americans," Mar 3, 2006 []
  • Polluters, Inc.: the U.S. is and has been for a while the biggest polluter in the world of the air we all breathe and the water and land we all depend on collectively for our sustenance. China and India are quickly catching up, be we still lead the pack, especially if you look at it from a per capita perspective. Our massive consumption culture and demand for cheap, disposable foreign goods drives other nations to support massive and unregulated industry and development for short-term profits (for the rich - the poor never see these benefits). It almost goes without saying that these decisions are to the detriment of creating an international culture of responsible stewardship for our environment. Just go over to some of the industrialized provinces in China and try to breathe, and instead feel the toxicants in the air all around you and burning through your lung cavities to see this kind of result; or look at the blooming of asthma and many other diseases in the children residing in our own communities that happen to sit next to any number of industry sites. And the fact is that our democratically elected leaders and the vast army of highly-paid corporate lobbyists lapping at their feet are doing everything they can to head off any sort of grassroots environmental justice or pro-environment movement here and abroad, despite widespread popular support for them.
  • Masters of Virtual Warfare: officially sanctioned killing in the name of your nation is no longer a personal, face-to-face thing - soldiers rarely see the eyes of their enemy; many soldiers, and most certainly the American public, no longer see or have the option of thinking about the deadly consequences that war has on a people, their lands and culture because they are only obeying orders and struggling to stay alive and complete increasingly unrealistic missions. So the real onus lies with the leadership, which, being so distant from the actual war, has no problem using tactics like "shock and awe"; dropping 500 pound units of mass terror and death from miles above with just enough precision to allow the spin-meisters the luxury of giving negative outcomes cute little names that de-personalize the realities of death, like "collateral damage" and "smart bombs." The American public, already with much of its attention diverted towards everyday personal financial struggles and endless varieties of mindless entertainment, doesn't notice that all media coverage of war is scrubbed clean of anything that would make them think twice about it or feel strongly that they should take some responsibility for the actions of our government.
  • Prophets of Profit: we preach the culture of consumer capitalism and blind devotion to this idol of competition like snake-oil salesmen. American-style capitalism will be the new world religion if the industrial-world leaders and their multi-national corporate masters get their way. These people will deny the efficacy of evolution and it's ancillary "survival of the fittest" ethos until they're red in the face, but they still insist that national salvation lies in the rigged system of "to the strongest go the spoils" that is at the heart of unbridled free-market capitalism. As long as the losers of that competition can be kept quiet and out of view of the public...

Some may read into what I have written here as a call for some sort of socialist state or even communism - perhaps thats true in a very limited respect, yes - but that is not the point. The point is that regardless of what system of government we support, if that system is not fully steeped in truth and openness and a belief in the equality of all life on this planet, then that system has been corrupted from the beginning and is probably destined to end up on the dung heap with the rest of history's fallen civilizations.

I still believe our system of checked and balanced government (minus some of the emphasis on blind capitalism and profit) can go forward positively and to the benefit of all, but only when the participants in that system fight as a collective to maintain those underlying beliefs. And to my reading of history, we have perhaps never found ourselves farther away from that ideal than today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

jog the memory

Thank you, oh merciful mother nature, for bestowing this bounty of early, mild weather on we thin-skinned, temperature-challenged humans. My bones, sinew and sense of self had lately been feeling heavy and seriously confined, so having the repeated opportunity to run carefree into the countryside accompanied by a slight breeze, a warming sol and some hand-picked tunes has refreshed me. It has reminded me that it doesn't take much sometimes to bring peace into our restless minds and bodies as long as we are always on the lookout for such simple opportunities.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

tastes just like chicken they say

lean ground lives, processed hearts
and greedily gobbled dreams;
our blind sustenance-addiction on all "others."
the diet of carnivorous chimps and martial culture cartels
who shit innocuous logo-veils
and spit widow-wail bulletins onto the paved-over public square.
they rail against that vast conspiracy of populist over-regulation:
as if the masses didn't care for the natural order of profit-making
or suckle from its spilled milk
and "reduced-fat means more cookies for me" mentality.
uncle sam sits casually sated
obese and flatulent with too much specie-industrial-complex meal
upon a throne forged from the bones of torture-memo casualties
and endless, pointless collateral damage-controls.
he paces his national-security-alert-empied palaces
looking for the next nation-state to make cry "uncle" -
ownership is 9/10ths of the law if it suits our purpose.
each american bites into a third world child's fly-encrusted eyes
or the gut-wrenchingly simple hopes of a fledgling moderate-muslim
with every breath we take in silence and unsustainable consumption.