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Member since: Sat Sep 24, 2011, 10:36 AM
Number of posts: 5,310

Journal Archives

It's not politics, but...


Abington Hospital and Jefferson are planning to merge, as are Penn and Lancaster.

Growing up where I have, I have watched Abington slowly but surely eat up what seems like 90% of the township. Amazing how much profit those places make.

"Standard & Poor's this month affirmed its "A" rating for Abington, citing unrestricted reserves of $676 million, enough to pay for 338 days of operations and more than twice its long-term debt."

Good thing, too, my mother gets her pension from Abington.

-- Mal

Annual plug for "A Night in the Lonesome October"

The late Roger Zelazny's Hallowe'en novel that comprised a unique love story and has five major plot twists in the last ten pages. And full of Zelazny's lyricism and wit.

-- Mal

Lyrics you must respond to.

Do you ever hear a song with lyrics that, every time you hear them, you just have to respond? I can think of a couple of examples right off:

Simon and Garfunkle, "America"

"Cathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why."

Every time I hear that, I just have to reply "Well, maybe if you talked to her when she was awake, you might figure it out."

Or the Beatles, "I Saw Her Standing There"

"Well she was just seventeen, you know what I mean."

Well, no, actually John, I don't.

-- Mal

Marriage equality at the Appellate Level

Since the USSC has essentially left it up to the Courts of Appeals to decide marriage equality cases, here is a useful web site tracking litigation at the appellate level: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/litigation

The 5th circuit is pretty conservative. What do the legally-savvy have to say about the other Courts of Appeals?

-- Mal

Soldier, Ask Not

Soldier, ask not - now, or ever,
Where to war your banners go.
Anarch's legions all surround us.
Strike - and do not count the blow!

Glory, honor, praise and profit,
Are but toys of tinsel worth.
Render up your work, unasking,
Leave the human clay to earth.

Blood and sorrow, pain unending,
Are the portion of us all.
Grasp the naked sword, opposing,
Gladly in the battle fall.

So shall we, anointed soldiers,
Stand at last before the Throne,
Baptized in our wounds, red-flowing,
Sealed unto our Lord - alone!

(Gordon Dickson)

-- Mal

Computer game about... fire watching?

DemoTex ought to find this interesting...


-- Mal

My First Riot

In 1974, the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup, and riots broke out all over the greater metropolitan area. My little village outside of the city experienced one of its own.

I generally try to avoid such things, but it was a lovely Spring night, I was 18 and had nothing better to do, and the riot was taking place only a few paces from my front door. So I went out to join, and fancied for a moment that I had gone back in time to VE Day.

There was considerable yelling and screaming, and milling about. I saw many people drinking something hidden in brown paper bags, possibly some peculiar weeds were being smoked as well -- it was 1974, after all. One young man, bereft of nether garments, climbed a lamppost and began shaking his finger at us all. Or perhaps it wasn't a finger, I blush to say. Strangers were embracing and kissing each other. I myself was granted a hug from a pretty young thing I never saw before or since, and I was still wearing trousers. It was grand and high-spirited chaos.

Down the street, the police were gathering to form a line to make us disperse. They had brought out the Black Maria -- a Chevrolet van not unlike the ice cream truck I was driving that season -- and the two patrol cruisers that were all my small community possessed. They were wearing their normal equipment, and carrying no shotguns, sniper rifles, or automatic weapons. Kevlar, in 1974, was a novel and expensive invention, and SWAT teams experiments confined to the great urban areas. I remember exactly how they began to move us along. "All right now, you've had your fun, it's time to disperse." They moved forward up the street, and the crowd, willy-nilly, "moved along" with a will. There was no tear gas, no rubber bullets. I doubt they were in the budget. Somehow, though, they dispersed us with only a few good-natured grumbles. Myself, being an 18 year-old smart aleck (totally unlike the 58 year-old smart aleck I am today), loudly asked a friend as we passed one officer, "I wonder what the penalty for loitering is." The officer, deadpan, told me it was 30 days or 150 dollars.

Well, that was a world ago, and a world apart from Ferguson, Missouri, and a celebration of a sporting victory is not of the same nature as an outraged protest over excessive police violence. And our communities were worlds apart as well: I lived in a 100% solid working-class white neighborhood. Indeed, I found out later that one of the police dispersing me was a guy I knew in high school. I wonder, sometimes, how our riot would go today. Much as we liked to grumble about our police -- we used to brag about how "tough" they were, in much the same way as we bragged about how bad our potholes were in winter -- yet there was a sense of community binding us all. They weren't our enemies, and we weren't theirs. We'd just had our fun, and now it was time to go home.

-- Mal

Florida Girl Makes Varsity High School Football Team

A little light news for the weekend. I regret I can't post pix, but my cousin in FLA tells me the granddaughter of some friends has made the varsity football team for the Dunedin Falcons. It should go without saying that she's the only girl on the squad, and probably in the conference.

Oddly enough, this doesn't even seem to have made the local papers. Which is encouraging, in a way. If a girl making the football team isn't news, then that means it's normal, right?

So, maybe we should all give a hearty "Go Dunedin!"

-- Mal

Two poems of sexual abuse

Written some years ago to give voice to the pain of a loved one:

"Ode to Uncle Woody"

"Do you know the power of the silent orgasm?"
You ask, and I say I do.
And also its loneliness.

The door creaks...
"Don't make no noise, Missy,"
"Don't let them hear," he begs.
As you lie beneath him in silent fear.
Fear only? Is that all you feel
As his body works on yours?
Is that the knife of self-loathing?
Loathing for him is foregone...
Is that pleasure, in the confusion
Of contempt, and pain, and hate?
"Don't make no noise," he whispers
As your mouth opens in a silent scream.

No one will hear your anguish.
That is your triumph, not his


"Ode to Uncle Jim"

Your mother wanted a Bonneville
So she pimped you to Uncle Jim.
To be passed like a party favor
To Tony and Frank and Tim.

To Vegas and Reno they squired you,
Little teenaged party doll.
To be very good to Daddy
And displayed in the gambling halls.

Feral child, run through the streets.
You can’t escape the sound of your pounding feet.
Don’t talk of love to a piece of meat
Thirteen years old, and oh, so sweet.

Down on your knees in the hot desert nights
Giving to Daddy such sweet delights.
A little Lolita, Missy the whore
Learning all about love behind a locked door.

Feral child, getting her pretties:
Making them pay for their little kitty.
Lay money down in the Executive Club
Fourteen years old, and a tiger cub.

Racetracks, casinos, the hottest of spots
Where they pay for their trophy who cannot escape.
Vodka and tonic and caviar crackers:
This is just a transaction: it’s nothing like rape.

Feral child, run where you will.
Daddy is happy to foot the bill.
But here’s the thing that can really kill:
You’re fifteen years old, and over the hill.

Run from the rackets, run from the tracks,
Run from the party lights and the whole ball of wax.
Run cross the country to hide out Nowhere:
Just another teenager in “Mayberry’s” square.

The new school is lovely, the kids are so nice:
They play “Spin the bottle” on Saturday nights.
Your mind is exploding, you can’t find a space:
You’re Frankenstein’s Bride, and you’re so out of place.

Here’s the doctor’s prescription, made just for you:
Have a pint of vodka, and some digitalis, too.
You can’t even laugh, and you can’t even cry.
Sixteen years old, and it‘s time to die.

Waking later in the hospital bed
The tubes and the I.V. tell you you’re not dead.
You’ll have to find another way to crawl out of hell:
Missy is dead: Long live Michelle.

-- Mal

Rumination on Misogyny

X-post from GD, where I presume it will fall dead-born from the press. FWIW.

I have been ruminating a bit on the issue of misogyny here at DU, and thought to share the fruits of my labor so far. And I will start by referencing a different, if related subject, that of rape.

When the woman says the man raped her, and the man says she loved it, in the absence of witnesses, whom are we to believe, or if not believe, grant the greater benefit of the doubt? Now, the moderate and even-handed individual might, at first blush, sadly shake his head and say that, since it is the man's word against the woman's, no determination can be made. Let's look a little deeper at that, though. The first objection to that position that occurs to me is this: by proclaiming neutrality, we automatically cast doubt on the woman's word. This is inescapable: we are telling her that her assertion has no validity unless she can prove it. Yet no such burden lies on the man, and in fact we implicitly endorse his assertion that she loved it by not questioning it. Of course, if the opposite were true, and we discounted the man's word out of hand and accepted hers, then we are denying validity to him while placing no burden on her. But since this is not the practice, it is an empty point, although one might wish to ruminate on whether it is a greater injustice to be falsely accused, than to be bereft of recourse.

But let's look a little deeper, if you will. The second thing that strikes me in this situation is that the woman, in asserting rape, is making a statement about herself. She is telling us what happened to her body, her psyche, her right to her own physical and emotional integrity. The man who asserts she loved it, however, is making a statement not about himself, but about someone else. One might reasonably ask which has the greater claim to authority, in this case: the one who speaks of herself, about whom she could reasonably be assumed to have rather more certain knowledge and understanding than you or I, or the one who speaks of another person, and arrogates to himself the final word on what she did or did not feel, did or did not experience. To me, this seems rather a telling point.

So now we proceed, willy-nilly, to misogyny. I have seen, recently, rather a number of conversation threads that go like this: A, a female, states "I have seen/experienced a lot of misogyny here on DU. B, a male, responds "It's not a lot, and those who do it are banned." These threads usually go rapidly downhill from there.

How, then, does my earlier rambling about rape relate here? Well, it occurs to me that if an individual says she has experienced certain behavior, she is rather more of an authority on her experience than the interlocutor who tells her she is misrepresenting/misinterpreting the situation. Whereas the individual who asserts that her experience is a misrepresentation/misinterpretation is arrogating to himself veritable status as arbiter of what does and does not constitute misogyny, and who does or does not experience it.

Another thought occurs to me, unrelated to the rape illustration, but with bearing on the question of misogyny. I am a male. In 58 years of life, I have never been subjected to misogyny, and never shall. It is, one might say, a biological necessity. I may have experienced other forms of bigotry, insult, belittlement: I have never felt misogyny. I may have witnessed acts, been exposed to circumstances or statements to which I would attach my own definition of the word, still I have never experienced misogyny. It is not, therefore, for me to define the phenomenon for those who have had such experience. It is rather for me to learn from them, that I might become wary enough to recognize it, and courageous enough to oppose it.

-- Mal
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