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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Space For Rant : Dec 5

Two Aussie DJs thought it would be hilarious today to see if they could get King Edward VIIHospital to spill the beans on the health of patient Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge. The duo successfully impersonated Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth of Windsor, convincing a friendly-sounding lady to inform them that the Duchess was just fine.

There's a Canadian NEWS programme boasting of spoilers on what these two idiots found out. One CTV reporter even called it "funny". Viewers were invited to tune in to discover the "amazing details" of the fragile royal tummy.

These ruses become entertainment for the masses, but these are real people, and it's not fair to target them in this fashion. I get that the public has a peculiar interest in these things, but sometimes it's none of our fucking business. There's only so much personal invasion that the famous can take, and kids and intimate life details should be off-limits. This lady may have married into a well-stalked family, but right now she's just a woman concerned about the health of herself and her much-wanted unborn child.

While the two failed comics apologized, the news agencies certainly have not, mocking hospital security and inviting us to laugh at royal misfortune.

When did we, as a society, turn into such atomic dickheads?

If you scare the living shit out of someone; making them feel unsafe about their surroundings, you're crossing the line. People should not have to be told to respect the most personal aspects of another human being's life.

This should be common sense.

Rant over.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This Space For Rant

 After the UN member nations overwhelmingly voted to grant Palestine non-member observer status, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was more than displeased. Having given a lengthy speech on why the representatives of the disputed territories of Gaza and the West Bank, Mr. Baird was sure that he would sway the vote in favour of keeping the status quo. While largely seen by the world press as a symbolic vote, leaders of the U.N.'s original peacekeepers are now reviewing whether to continue humanitarian, political, and security aid to the civilians residing within Gaza and West Bank communities.

After the vote, Mr. Baird and International Co-Operation Minister (and controversial former Metro Toronto Police Chief) Julian Fantino recalled heads of 4 missions from Ramallah, Tel Aviv, New York and Geneva to protest the U.N. members' decision.

Baird Spokesman Rick Roth said today that Canada would never recognize a Palestinian state without a peace treaty, stating that "The Palestinian Authorities actions and provocative rhetoric at the U.N. General Assembly would obviously elicit a response from Israel" and that while the government of Canada plans to continue aid until their current 5 year agreement runs out next year, they will "review the path forward once the projects have been successfully completed".

Canada should continue aid after the March expiry date, and for a number of reasons. To begin with, we've given these folks help building infrastructure and hospitals. We've observed voting practices and helped fund schools. Regardless of the rockets Hamas, Fatah, and their ilk have fired at Israel, living human beings live in Gaza and the West Bank. And most of these people are kids, mothers, and people running shops or selling foodstuffs. They have very little to do with the fanatics who control their populace. The Palestinian civilian lives under the power of a terrible government. Yes, they voted for Abbas, but they didn't have any other viable options.

But even if you don't care about the Palestinian people or their plight, John Baird's petit actions smack of sour grapes. We don't always get what we want- majority rules in a democracy. Just because you lose a vote doesn't mean you should stomp your feet like a child in a toy store. If there was an afterlife, you know Lester Pearson would be screaming bloody murder right now.

Keeping the peace is not always about an armed presence. Sometimes it's about giving the little guy what he or she needs in order to foster goodwill, educate the populace, and eradicate political extremism. Canadians have always championed these ideals, and must continue to do so. To turn back now, or in March, would be a stain on an entire nation and the 61% of people who did not vote for Prime Minister Harper.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Quote Of The Day

Pat Robertson, 1993

At this time, Pat was financially tied to genocidal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, using this friendship to open mines that were run on slave labour. He used Operation Blessing aircraft and money to ship mining equipment whilst telling viewers that he was shipping aid to Rwanda. Later on, he attacked Bush for offering a reward for the capture of Robertson's despotic Baptist bro.

Also, during this timeframe, Robertson owned a mining concern in Zaire, forming a close friendship with their dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. Naturally, Robertson's ADC also used slave labour in these mines, and again using Operation Blessing aircraft on almost 40 occasions.

Seems like the guy should know more about the definition of wholesale abuse, considering he had a front-row seat.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Song In My Head

One of my favourite songs has no video, but a fan has produced an incredible version.


Buy it here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Food-Related Rant Of The Day

According to the governments of Canada and the United States, these cereals are considered health food. See, companies like General Mills pay oodles of money to use Health Check and similar symbols, apparently to tell parents that these products contain wholesome whole grain.

Because of ridiculous diet hypotheses, people in the world's wealthier nations are being told that grain, something absent in the diets of humans until fairly recently, should be the basis of the human diet and we should consume very little fat despite the fact that our brains are over 60% lard. In ultra-low fat diets promoted by Ancel Keys, Nathan Pritikin, General Mills spokesjoke (and Bachelor star) Dr. Travis Stork, and a host of anti-obesity activists, snacks like whole-wheat crackers and breakfast foods like Kix, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fiber One, and Lucky Charms are what our kids should stuff their faces with.

With even 'healthy' choices like Raisin Bran and Shredded Wheat occupying a higher rung on the glycemic index than pure sugar, there's bound to be a crash after your body has produced so much insulin. Symptoms can include sleepiness, sudden hunger, irritability, and loss of concentration. What's more, a ton of kids cannot digest this stuff correctly, causing cramps, diarrhea, and general misery. Needless to say, such a child is not going to be quiet and still a couple hours after eating a big bowl of Sugar Smacks doused in skim milk.

Our kids' generation has seen an alarming rise in conditions associated with metabolic syndrome. High triglycerides, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes are showing up in children, not to mention the myriad of previously-rare psychological ills.

Now, instead of giving our kids brain-and-body-building (and filling) fats and proteins, schools and health authorities insist that we serve them Ritalin with their Cookie Crisp.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fine Art According To My Brother Of The Day

One of my brothers and his now-fiancee recently went on a month-long European vacation which became The Engagement Vacation after aforementioned brother, actually named Chris, finally popped the question when they were somewhere in the amazing greyness that is England.

Having returned from their endurance test, they decided to visit and it was great. There were stories and souvenirs and interesting herbal blends. Among the items on the itinerary was the night devoted to something that is informative, but can also inspire a sense of dread.

The Slide Show.

Formerly a potential cause of somnolescence, in the digital age, The Slide Show has morphed into a 10, 000 picture cross-continent tour. While all of the views are spectacular, after too many you'll swear that you have scorched your retinas.

And during the tour, which included Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and a few other places, came France. And one of the many, many places visited by proxy was the Louvre.

Somewhere in the middle of the 5000 pictures they took at the incredible museum/ whole nother town (which shockingly permits photography), came this gem, which amused my brother immensely. The Show came to a slight stop while the bro HOWLED loudly. His cheeks go red and it's actually quite hilarious.

The painting is presumed to be of Gabrielle d'Estrees and one of her sisters. The painter of the somewhat scandalous lady is unknown, but the painting is in the neighbourhood of 420 years old. Gabrielle was the mistress of King Henry IV and the sister is pinching Gabrielle's nipple, symbolizing the mistress' pregnancy. The seamstress in the background is purported to be making baby clothes. It's kind of bizarre to many of us today, but the painting is supposed to be kind of romantic; a coded announcement of an important birth, that of the future Duke of Vendome.

Nowadays, Gabrielle d'Estrees et une de ses seurs is considered a priceless work of art, but according to my brother, it is...

The World's First Recorded Purple Nurple

Friday, September 14, 2012

Comment Of The Year Edition

A friend of mine, sitting close by, was born in 1963. He's a tough farm boy who has always stood up for the underdog. He might have involuntarily become the first dude in Canada to be a public high school straight ally.

Picture this: 1978, a kid smaller than he, outed as gay, wee tiny dude. Kid is gonna get shit kicked like he has every day since grade 9. Friend stands up and says " he might be queer, but you guys are assholes". He takes the lumps for the kid and does for every queer kid in his school regardless of others calling him a homo or whatever. See, he stood up and said it was wrong...and he still does.

To this day, the simple farm boy and stock car racer loathes what Republicans preach. He votes NDP in Canada and Democrat in the states, thanking his dual citizenship. He loves people as they are. To him, the substance of a man is measured by his deeds and not his race, religion, or sexual orientation.

And this brings me back to a comment made by a reader; one I knew in high school. She made a difference in my life and helps others now.

Here she is:

who are we talking about? I don't need to know, I don't like them already... Bullying is the most cowardly act that I have been witnessed to and victim to. People that bully behind the cloak of the internet are the worst possible kind. Cowards. I wish I could talk to all teenagers and children being bullied and let them know that it does end, it does get better. The losers that bully you in school usually hit their peak in high school. How sad for them! They go on trying to relive their 'glory days', and usually end up sucking at life.

One of the stories of overcoming bullies actually involves you Mika, but I'm not sure if you remember it. I remember walking in on you being bullied in the stairwell at CCI by a guy that was three times your size. He was grilling you about your sexual preference and asking you extremely inappropriate questions. I remember he had you cornered and there were people standing all around, joining in, and I went through the crowd and told you to come outside with me. One of the girls in the crowd grabbed me and said 'Mandy, don't you know she's a lesbian, if people see you with her, they'll think you're one too'. I remember thinking, 'all of you are just so sad and pathetic'. Being bullied as a kid put a huge scar on me, on the outside and the inside. Thankfully, I was able to get through it. People that are bullies in their adult life make me think the way I did on that day. You are all so sad and pathetic....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

More Bang From Buck

TW: 18+ violence including murder, female genital mutilation, transphobia, cissexism, pornography, graphic language

Buck Angel is a well-known man, both inside and outside of the transsexual community. He's a globe-trotting speaker and award-winning adult film star, and as something of a rarity, he's granted tons of interviews for print as well as television media. And whether or not you like the guy (I find him abrasive, uneducated, and arrogant), a lot of trans kids look up to him as some sort of pioneer and role model; moreover, the outside world often bases their perception of trans men on that of the planet's most vocal trans dude.

Here's the thing: Buck says a lot of shit that is highly problematic, and sometimes outright dangerous. He's told younger trans guys to be happy little butch lesbians, defended the use of a horribly transphobic slur, and now he's reduced trans women to a sum of their parts, effectively blaming victims for their own injuries at the hands of cis people. In an interview with an online dating forum, the porn star blurted out this lovely rant that is sure to shock anyone with a sense of compassion:

That brings up the question of disclosure, which seems like a difficult one. What’s the best point, if you do just meet someone in a bar, to reveal that you’re trans?
I’m a huge advocate for disclosure, because I believe a lot of people get themselves in bad situations because they do not disclose. For example, trans women who might hook up with a cis-gendered guy and then he goes home with her and finds out she has a penis and flips out and beats her up or kills her. That’s horrible, and I really believe by not disclosing it’s very disrespectful to the other person because they might not be into it and it makes them feel very freaked out about themselves. Disclosure is huge for me, and how do you do that in a bar situation? You’re right, it’s very strange. For me, how I always did it was if I knew it was going to turn into a sexual situation, immediately, immediately, I would say, “I need to let you know about this situation.” But the dating site puts it right out there: I’m a man with a vagina!

One issue with the perspective of Buck Angel is that all-in-all he caters to fetishists and curiosity-seekers for a living. Almost everyone he encounters sexually knows exactly what to expect because they've seen every manner of porn stud and starlet fuck him. Buck has very little fear of ever winding up in a situation where he may not be expecting nookie and shit just happens. And as a macho white male, his chances of being attacked on the street by a stranger for being trans are near zero.

The fact is that, while there have been trans men killed for "disrespecting" our cissexist society, the vast majority of victims are women, and they're often of colour. Often times, a rapist or murderer intentionally seeks out transgender victims because they're easy targets for their sociopathic leanings. All they have to do is say that the girl didn't disclose or invent some other stupid reason to justify their crimes and try for a light sentence. This is exactly what happened in 1996 when a guy sought out 3 people (including 2 I knew personally), assuming they were all trans, and shot them to death. He claimed that it was the will of God. Now, in this instance the court didn't buy it and handed Marcello Palma 3 life sentences, but the audacity of his defense is worth remembering. The reason why the defense was even introduced was because it had worked before. Cis folks just do not like trans people, as so inelegantly explained by Buck Angel himself.

A continuing issue I find with the entire article is the overwhelming gender and physical attribute essentialism. Buck mentions the abuse of trans women, but reduces them to a singular body part that they may or may not possess, as if possessing one specific body part means that harm against her is somehow excusable. Additionally, he seems to believe in this as well as statements made in other interviews, that all 'good' trans men have vaginas. This isn't true for many trans guys to be sure, but also for some cis women! Due to metaodioplasty, phalloplasty, cancer, prolapse, or any number of reasons both elective and not, a trans guy might not have exactly what you would expect in the basement, and that's just fine and dandy.
Hell, I'll admit that even before transition, I didn't exactly have Playboy model netherbits. Should I have been beaten or killed for not disclosing this? How about survivors of female genital mutilation? The intersexed? Post-operative trans people? Should they meet the angry fist as well? Where the Hell do we draw the line here?

Buck often mentions disrespect. So what of it? As a visibly trans dude who is active in the Aboriginal community in a small town, I'm subject to constant disrespect that ranges from backstabbing chatter to death threats. I'm called names and I've been harassed by the police. There have been innumerable things done to myself and others on this island that would most certainly fall under the category of disrespect, and you and I know that if I beat or killed one, let alone all of the people, who engaged in this behaviour, I'd be locked up for the remainder of my days.

Numerous trans women have stated in their written and spoken word that they do not trust the men of our small community, and Buck Angel's opinions are often used as an example. Not only does he not think before he speaks, but he becomes angry when someone points out that he may have said or done something absolutely destructive. It's not his occupation that makes him immoral- adult stars like Nina Hartley, Annie Sprinkle, and Drew Deveaux are only a few examples of film sex stars who continuously offer up evidence for the fact that intellect can indeed exist amongst those who work in a much-maligned industry. Porn stars are not idiots, even if Buck Angel is.

Buck Angel should not be looked at to represent sex workers, transgender people, or even men at large. He perpetuates stereotypes, affirms misogyny, and degrades those he claims to defend. Buck is not a role model for anyone and he most certainly does not speak for me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stuck In The Past: Patrick Rogers And His 176-Year-Old Memories

 TW: Discussions of racism and references to genocide

 General George Armstrong Custer was known for serving in the U.S. civil war, but known most famously for leading an army that massacred thousands of First Nations people before being finally killed himself. Opinions of his feats and heroism vary, with some believing him a genocidal imperialist who waged unnecessary war and others holding him as an icon who selflessly blazed America's trail in tough times. Many Native Americans believe he was a cruel liar, a man who killed en masse despite promising the Chiefs to never attack their people. In any event, the man died 136 years ago and you're probably thinking that Custer's name is just another in the annals of American history. But you'd be wrong.

  This week, an email that was sent to five of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was released. The following communication was sent by New Mexico Republican National Committee leader Patrick Rogers. In it, he insults the white staffers (Quisling is synonymous to a race traitor, French surrender monkey is self-explanatory), and states that Republican hopeful Col. Allen Weh "would not have disrespected Col. Custer in this manner".

  So, what's Rogers referring to and why is it such a big deal? It seems that Gov. Martinez's annual meeting with tribal leaders really rubbed Rogers the wrong way. Despite a state law requiring such a summit, Rogers believes that Governors are dissing Custer by meeting with Native people on an equal basis. I repeat, Pat Rogers, RNC leader and big time corporate lobbyist and attorney with clients like Verizon, Motorola, and General Motors, believes it's an affront to the memory of a genocidal racist to meet with an ethnic minority, a true sign that "the state is going to Hell".

  What the HELL is wrong with these people? Not only is there a war on uteri, the poor, the elderly, and students, now it's considered offensive to white Republicans to even SPEAK to Indigenous people. If it wasn't apparent before, the RNC leader has outed himself as a racist of the most awful kind- one nostalgic for the worst elements of the past and afraid of true equality and a decent future for all Americans. I expect statements like this to come from Bryan Fischer, but not a guy with such real political influence and Supreme Court litigation experience. To desire so much as dialogue with the representatives of over 200, 000 voters makes you anti-white and anti-American. And to be such things makes you deserving of scorn and worse.

  When you vote Republican, these are the kind of ideals you're endorsing. Decide well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sometimes The Gay Media Really Pisses Me Off

To say Maryland State delegate Don Dwyer loathes LGBT people is an understatement. Last year, he was one of the forces against Maryland gay marriage hearings, opening his testimony with a prayer asking God to stop the gay threat. In his later testimony, he quotes hate group MassResistance's claim that gays are trying to introduce BDSM to your children. The lady to your right is well-known right wing activist Maggie Gallagher.

This week, this very unlikeable man was involved in a boating accident. With blood alcohol level two-and-a-half times Maryland's legal limit, he crashed into another boat, seriously injuring not only himself and his buddy, but 4 kids, aged 12, 10, 7, and 5. Charges against the delegate are expected to be filed pending the usual investigation that follows maritime accidents. Cases of this magnitude generally warrant felony charges, which would end the career of one of Maryland's least popular politicians.

Given the nature of Dwyer's beliefs, this horrific incident has been covered by most of the Big Gay Blogs, but instead of being a simple news bite, the authors and commenters seem to be really enjoying the latest great scandal involving a Republican lawmaker. Some made comments about the supposed sexual orientation of Dwyer, others are calling it karma, still others are proclaiming it an example of Don Dwyer's inferior intellect. However, not one of the  folks thus far has expressed serious concern over the innocent victims of Del. Dwyer's horrible behaviour.

This is why the mainstream gay media pisses me off more often than it really should. What the HELL is wrong with these people?

Sure, someone whose opinions may be repulsive was injured, but so were 4 children in the vessel he hit. And you're basking in schadenfreude because of the ensuing scandal involving a man who you disagree with. Those kids are innocent. They probably don't know Don Dwyer nor give a shit about his views. Over 10, 000 people in the U.S. alone die as a result of drunk drivers. Thousands more lose limbs, are paralysed, or suffer irreversible head trauma.

Don Dwyer hurting people by being a drunken fool is not funny. Tell those kids that it's karma. Tell them that you don't care about their terror and injuries because you don't like the guy. Go ahead, Joe Jervis and all the others, laugh in the faces of those children the way you howl about the impending charges against Del. Dwyer because that's exactly what you're doing from the safety of your desks.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Your Daily Dumbass And A Song

  Jon Kirby is a serious criminal. He's done time for burglary, stealing cars, and even killing someone in Texas. The middle-aged miscreant figured he'd have an easy time walking into a nice Sherman Oaks home in the middle of the night and making off with some rich dude's goods.

  The problem - he went into the house of tough guy actor LL Cool J, who wasn't feeling the idea of some asshole scaring the hell out of his wife and kids. So he exercised his right to defend his family from what could be any manner of criminal.

  Before you NRA dudes get all excited, he didn't need a firearm. The guy used his paternal instincts and beat the shit out of the guy, breaking his ribs and face. He subdued the 3-time loser until the cops got there. 56 year old Jonathan Kirby is now looking at a minimum of 38 years in the tank.

  Remember folks- no matter how badass you think you are, there's always someone tougher than you. And that person is probably a parent.

C) 1995 The Island Def Jam Music Group                  BUY IT HERE

You Can't Make This Shit Up

  When not trying to legislate their way into you or your partner's uterus, one of the prime focuses of the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan platform is cuts, cuts, CUTS! to social programs and other government spending (save for oil, corn, and wheat subsidies) so that the fabulously wealthy can enjoy lower taxes and hoard more of their money. Supposedly, millionaires and billionaires are job creators, and when you look at the undocumented migrant housekeepers, agriculture workers, and factory farm butchers, their claim may be true; however, Romney pledges to get rid of those pesky brown people too, but that's a topic for a future blog.

   Well, one of Mittens' favourite targets for cuts is the arts. See, them creepy hippie types are not exactly of a Republican bent, Sesame Street is encouraging kids to overthrow the government, and gay dancers are trying to recruit your children. So the government must not lend financial assistance to expanding creativity or allowing children to go to museums cheaply lest they learn that the Earth is more than 6, 000 years old.

  Among Romney's named targets are the National Endowment For The Arts, The National Endowment For The Humanities, and PBS. Also on the hit list are Amtrak and Medicaid, but we know those things already. So what exactly is the big surprise here?

  PBS, because of its not-for-profit nature, airs about three times more political convention coverage than the big networks. You see, the big guys realize higher revenues with soda ads that interrupt re-runs of crappy shows like Friends, so they want to make the summer bank that knowledge will never provide. Being a public service, run by private as well as taxpayer contributions, PBS has no incentive to sell brain rot, so they opt for intellectual expansion, offering the shows that you and I grew up with, like Sesame Street, a show partially responsible for the fact that I could read and comprehend the content prior to my third birthday.

  Now, let's go back to the political content that PBS airs. For some the convention speeches are boring, but for others the coverage is an important part of examining the political process. During this high time of election fervour, PBS boasts massive convention coverage- a full 3 hours during prime time every night of the week. You won't see this anywhere else. Even MSNBC airs Lockup reruns and op-ed infotainment during the 8-11 EST slot that PBS fills with unfiltered politics, interviews, and analysis. PBS is one of the best things that the government subsidizes, and while Romney himself even admits that he loves it, it's gotta go.

  So which channel would you be required to tune in to in order to catch Ann Romney's all-important GOP convention speech?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Middle-Of-The-Night Thought Of The Week

Here's the deal. Even the most conservative person knows that there is a need for some people to stay off of the street.

Now, here is some reality. Cameron in the U.K. is proposing removing housing benefits for under 25 folks. That's it. U-25s get no crib. Apparently mum and pop are supposed to take care of everything.

My older sister is a nursing director. She was also kicked out at 15 for painting her toenails. She took 3 welfare checks while working her way into school. She also worked in a lawyer's office, dealt with shitty boyfriends, and even ran a jackhammer. Anywho, she doesn't live in a cardboard box, so she's doing dandy now.

Thing is, most under-25s who take a cheque have no designs on taking them for life. And anyone with supportive enough folks to let them kick around til 25 has privilege the levels that only folks like Cammy know.

This cat literally believes that families a)want to and b) can support their kids until 25.


Tell the single mums, disabled folks, queers, trans folks, labourers, and atheists that their mums and dads should take them back in.


WHY is there no fucking outrage over this utter stupidity just prior to an olympiad? Or in general? Are societies becoming so uncaring...wait...

Cameron is going to spill 300, 000 people onto the streets just before the Olympics

Any sane nation would try to house the people.

And I'M the medicated one.


The Song In My Head

I love language and music and sport. When I'd get a shitty part in work schedules, I used to sell books and sports crap on eBay. Now I'm kind of getting back in to it, but I do recall something that used to happen. There was this cat who sold CDs starting at 1 cent. I do it for books and cards too, but I've bought a lot off this dude. Anywho, I actually got the CD this song is on for a penny about 5 years ago. And I like this song. So there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Long And Winding Blog Post

  I haven't been writing a lot lately but have been thinking. I really need to start recording my ideas about David Cameron, Stephen Harper, Obama, Putin, and Imintojihad, because when I sit down to write it all seems to go to shit. I'm not sure whether the reason for my literary black hole has been transition, depression, my annoying neighbours, or sheer boredom, but I haven't sat at this desk doing productive things for far too long. Regardless of the reason, I really need to just let shit out and haven't been doing that. I'm a very private chickenshit who has barely passed Feelings 101.

  I used to let shit out online all the time in front of a camera. I was also younger and goofier and drank like a fish. Besides, it's easier to be social when the people you're talking to aren't really in the same room. But I used to write a lot too. Some of my entries were typical commentary, and some about science, and politics, or whatever. And it made me feel better for the most part. Besides, I had no idea that I could be the author of a nutritional label, let alone some of the incredible pieces I've put out. I can be really difficult to comprehend that you're the author of something when you read it back. It can be awesome but it can also be exceptionally terrifying, so if you're me, you're not clicking publish.

  Often, I delete posts because I'm afraid of the dreadful feelings, but I also do because I'm afraid of making a mistake. I'll make a grammatical error, I won't be up on the latest activist-speak, or I'm just not doing it the right way. Now we get to the point where an old fart like me can be scared out of my shorts over the opinions of privileged little fucks and bitter college dropouts.

  Well, fuck that.


  The thing is, kids, 99% percent of my readers are not transgender folks. They're obviously not too freaked out by my transness, but I'm sure miss my Bacon-Related Post Of The Week far more than me describing my latest new chest hair. My transition is not for public consumption, it's not really that big of a deal. It's not my obligation to discuss anything related to anything happening, regardless of whether or not it seems scandalous.  That's why you'll never see a stream of This Is Me X Days/Weeks/Months on T videos on YouTube. Well that and the fact that I'm not 17.

  These facts will not also prevent me from reavling my trans status in pieces I may write, so long it is relevant to the topic at hand. While I'm trying to be Mr. Tough, altering your life in such as a drastic way as I have can be full of the dreaded feelings. It happens even though I'll vociferously deny it at the time.

  One of major feelings is fear. Captain Chickenshit is afraid of everything. And I was sitting here doubting, or at least experiencing momentary fear over the fact that I'm identifiably a dude. Everything's changing in some manner even though I am the same individual. Sometimes things are expected of me which I cannot provide, but most often, the stress is positive. Even still, such feelings manifest themselves as fear, and I kind of decided to chill out on the whole being-afraid-of-everything thing. I wasted 16 years where I could have lived my life in which I wished, and it was simply because I was afraid to deal with my family.

  And I'll tell you that was a looong time.

  This was really time that I took for granted. In my moment of self-doubt today, I was reminded of how short life really is and how much time I've been wasting being unhappy. It's not every newborn that gets to live to 36, let alone 76, and while I'm hoping for the latter, the former is certainly possible as well. And so this is the only life I have and I'm not going to pretend to be someone else to appease people. So here's the deal, family, friends, readers, stumblers- I am a man. I'm unconventionally so, but man I am. You cannot alter this fact. Your weird religious opinions and squeamishness and damnation cannot change me into a female because I've really never been one.

  So get over it. I'm not doing this to hurt you or offend you or for any of the self-centred reasons that you narcissists think. I'm simply being myself and if you do not wish to accept me for who I am then move on. If you freak out a bit, it's okay. So long as you come to the conclusion that I'm a human being I can be hella forgiving. But if you deny my existence you will no longer exist to me.

  Meanwhile, I'll still be here living my day like it's my last and bitching about Mitt.

  Be well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sports Idiot of the Week

Professional athletes and officials are an intellectually and politically diverse group of folks, just like the general population. The news has covered arch-Conservatives like Tim Tebow and Tim  Thomas, anti-homophobia spokesmen Brian Burke and Henrik Lundqvist, and the career of centrist goalie-attorney-author-member of Parliament Ken Dryden. Hall of Fame NHLer Peter Stastny is a career politician now, and Slovak countryman Zdeno Chara is also active when not leveling opponents. Folks like these may seem to be the minority of jocks, but they really are not, and the news media loves to get a quip from those who have attained the spotlight, regardless of whether it is profound or profane.

Enter boxing champion, musician, and Filipino congressman Manny Pacquiao.

It's no secret that PacMan's politics are shaped by his very literal adherence to Roman Catholic doctrine. His election was cemented on his hard-right views which have made him a darling of not only Filipino(a) Conservatives, but Spanish and American ones as well. Because he is not shy about his views, right-wing media outlets seek out the boxer as a source of inspiration; proof that you can be at the top of the sports world while championing conservative causes.

While most people know what to expect from the man who is currently on the anti end in the Phillipines' Reproductive Bill, his interview with the unabashedly racist, sexist, and homophobic National Conservative Examiner was destined to shock.

In a piece aimed at Barack Obama, the boxer spoke out against gay marriage to be sure, but also offered this direct quote from scripture that has caused reactions ranging from applause to revulsion.

In the piece he quoted Leviticus 20:13 verbatim, which reads as follows

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

and then added his further opinion

God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.

Now, Pacquiao is not the first person to promote hatred of gays based on a book written over millenia by 70-odd different cave-dwellers and nomads. He's not even the first pro athlete to do it. However, what is different is the fact that it is a more modern era, and moreover, he stated the quote in such a way that one is led to believe that he really wants people not of his orientation to die. As in no longer living and creeping him and God out.

Because they always do such things, I expect the famewhores over at GLAAD to be all over this story, demanding an apology. But wouldn't any such entreaty be such an obviously artificial attempt for Pacquiao to save his massive endorsements from the likes of Hennessy and Hewlett-Packard?I don't actually expect the jerk to offer an apology, but if he did, it would be as much of a lie as the marital fidelity he claims to want to protect. (It's well-known that he's had a very public extramarital affair)

Pacquiao expects Obama and everyone else to read and obey Biblical law init's many contradictions when he is wearing proof that he doesn't himself. He's a guy who makes millions giving other people irreversible brain damage and promoting hard liquor, but moreover, he does it all while showing the world that he is violating Leviticus 19:28. You see, according do the book that Pac-Man holds so dear, possessing his variety of tattoos is as fatal of an abomination as sleeping with a dude. And not only does the boxer possess several tattoos, he even owns a tattoo shop in L.A. Talk about picking and choosing your commandments.

Needless to say, Many Pacquiao's obvious inability to read and comprehend the book that he uses to promote the death of other men while he flouts the rules himself  is what makes him a hypocrite and the sports idiot of the week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Screaming Thoughts

Today, this pastel sold for US$119.9 million today, which is higher than the entire GDP of the Falkland Islands and Niue combined. The work is one of 4 pieces created in 1895 by Edvard Munch, but the first one to land in private hands. And it certainly speaks to me.

If I was a rich bastard with a big Koch-sized bank account, I would be all over this. I would buy this and travel all over the world with it. I'd even (gasp!) let children near it and maybe even let folks take pictures. And when I'd be all old and dry, I'd donate it to the Art Gallery of Ontario, the magical place where I got to see King Tut's sarcophagus when I was very small.
**Sidebar: After viewing the exhibit, I would draw plans for ancient city layouts and imagine myself as the monarch and whatnot. I'm sure that most 5-year-old kids would be freaked out by seeing a dude's coffin, but it was the beginning of yet another new obsession for me.***

 Regardless of whether it is a burial shroud or a poem about a beloved pet, art stirs the psyche in ways that too few children nowadays are permitted to experience. Today is so literal and finite; it's about numbers and goals and achievements and having parents live vicariously through their offspring.

But kids need to express themselves and to see another's masterpiece is to potentially think and feel a message, be it the artist's or the interpretation. That 3 minutes staring at a man or society's greatest accomplishment is a moment of freedom from all of the daily mental noise that too few of us are permitted to enjoy and I think kids should be able to have a piece of that serenity.

In the absence of the billions I would like to spend bringing children the joy of viewing art, I wish for all of you to take a bit of art time with your own kids. Take the kid to a play, or a museum or gallery for sure, but also don't value the ability to throw a football over that which fosters the imagination required to create new plays. Permit your little human to enjoy their own thoughts, goofing off, dressing up, painting, and whatever moves them without criticizing them for it. Let kids be kids; for them, everything is art, whether they're drawing a statistical grid (okay, that was me) or painting the Arc de Triomphe. Fantasy is reality in the growing mind. Actually, adults could use a little as well.

Also, I painted this. See, art is for everyone, even this old math geek.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Octo-Thoughts and Things

So it seems that Ms. Nadya Suleman is in danger of bankruptcy, owing nearly $1 million on her home and other debts. Thusly, she has decided to do what she claimed she would avoid, and will star in an adult film.

The mum of 14 will grace the creepy screen in a starring role, with various hypothetical scenarios being bandied about the interwebs, the most reliable sources stating that she will wank for the world in an attempt to stave off foreclosure and provide for her enormous brood.

My first thought when I heard about this plot was "Who would watch THIS?", but in reality a lot of people really would. Let's face it, Ms. Suleman is not a bad looking multiple mama, and some people may even see her as a modern kind of fertility goddess.

My next reaction was "What about the CHILDREN??!!!" Well, what about them? Sure, some are old enough to be aware of what mum is doing, but they've been part of a sideshow before. Besides, isn't it just a tad sexist to freak out about Octomum but have a reality show starring a single-dad gonzo anal performer? (Family Business) If this were a dad of 14, it would be no big deal, in fact it wouldn't even be news.

And, with reference to the kids, isn't it far more responsible in our welfare-shaming eyes for Nadya Suleman to support her kids? It actually seems kind of honourable that she is doing what she can to avoid the taxpayer teat, even if it means showing her own. I actually admire her for stepping up to the plate, even if it seems to be a little delayed.

So, here's it in a nutshell. This woman will probably make decent coin for showing off her netherregions, and she's an adult. And I have no problem with her or anyone else selling sex, even if the concept doesn't personally appeal to me. Right now, whether in pornography, in a brothel, or under a desk, you can be absolutely certain that somewhere in the world, someone is selling sex, and hopefully they're enjoying it. Every moment of every day, there are fathers and mothers who are getting paid to get laid, mind you most will not become famous for their time.

 It's a dog-eat-dog, capitalist, voyeuristic world in which an entire family (the Kardashian-Jenner clan) can become fabulously wealthy because one member can give a perfect blowjob, and if Nadya Suleman so desires, she can line up for her slice of the perverse pie served to the peculiarities that become the world's most well-known sex workers.

Please stand by.

WTBlue F*ck Of The Weak

TW: Child abuse, transphobia, homophobia, religious abuse, misogyny, very wrong things

In one week, there will be a ballot measure that will edit North Carolina's constitution if passed. Amendment One states that marriage shall be the union of one man and one woman, but will also ban previously allowable domestic partnerships. North Carolina, being the liberal hotbed that it is, has already banned same-sex unions, but this will ban many heterosexual partnerships as well as cement No Homo in the annals of time.

One of the self-proclaimed couples promoting the ban on all marriages not "holy", is Sean and Pam Harris, he the senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and she the dutiful (and usually) silent half of the partnership unequal-but-perfect-in-the-image-of-god duo.

Being the MAN of the house, Mr. Harris believes he knows what to do about non gender-conforming kids. And being one such kid, I do have an idea of exactly what he's talking about, but these are current and future children that will bear the pain of his vicious insecurities. The following will be painful to hear if you have a shred of humanity. If you're one of the new GOP who parrot the party's radical right ideology, you'll adore it.

This is what is wrong with the state of affairs in the United States and many other parts of the Western world in under 2 minutes. When religion, and the most extreme interpretations thereof, have a chance to affect state or federal constitutions, liberty loses.

Monday, April 30, 2012

This Space For Rant

I am burned out and beginning to have a very real total mental meltdown. I just cannot escape what has become of my life. And I know that it doesn't fucking matter to anyone save for the people who are slowly and painfully asphyxiating me, and to them it is only a concern because they won't be able to use me for their needs.

So, what the Hell do I mean?

Let's begin with the average day; actually, let's use today as an example of what an easy day is.

Today, I was woke from my slumber by a knock on the door. It wasn't the first time, though, since I was up all night because of the partying pothead kids in 108 and the guy who is always running a Sawzall in the middle of the night in 104. Luckily, I didn't get 52 drunk texts from this woman who always wants a cigarette/joint/food/sex/whatever, but let's just say that it's the norm.

Okay, so back to the knock. It was my neighbour and he had Silent Sam for breakfast for the 40th YEAR in a row. He wanted rolling papers, which I generally do not have. This would be a petit irritation, save for the fact that he has made the SAME BLOODY REQUEST EACH AND EVERY DAY for the last several consecutive months. Yes, I'm serious. Luckily, unlike most days, he did not proceed to pour himself a shot of Vitamin V, sit down, and bitch in his Russian/Polish/English hybrid about how everyone in the building is a teutonic buffoon.

Next, we have another one. "Are you busy?". I respond that I have to call my endocrinologist, research things, pick up a prescription, mail parcels, and possibly eat. He sticks around anyways for about an hour.

Following this, we have another person, who is in clear mental distress. I usually receive 2 to 3 of these individuals per day, despite the fact that I am not a psychiatrist or even anything remotely close to one. He proceeds to park himself and repeat his depressing tale for hours. I have still not called Dr. Moldoveanu, nor consumed any calories thus far, but still listen patiently because I don't want this kid to think I don't care.

I eventually assert myself so I can have a shower and a bite to eat. It was the second time I had done so, but he finally did leave to phone the psych nurse I had referred him to hours before. It is now after 3 in the afternoon. As I step out of the shower, another knock. It's distressed boy again. My door is locked but he stands there until barely-clothed me answers. He proceeds to usher himself in and begins speaking, all while it is obvious that I am trying to clothe and groom myself suitably for exiting my domicile. Repeat of earlier occurs. It is now 4:05.

I arrive at the pharmacy to discover that they will not give me syringes without an additional scrip. This is fine, the pharmacist seems fresh out of school and I understand where he's coming from. The problem: it is now 4:35 and I can't get to a clinic, so I have to wait until tomorrow to get my shot. Bloody lovely.

I arrive at my building and a drunk guy shouts out that he needs to speak to me, but I procrastinate on that for a bit. He was drunk and I apparently had new stressors to encounter. I call my mum from the payphone to request that she return my cellphone, which I loaned her for a trip on Friday. My stepdad answers, and like every other day of his life, he is heavily intoxicated. While waiting for my mum to pick up, he makes a bunch of snide comments, and I'll admit that I kind of lost it on my mum. I'm plumb tired of him and she knows this, besides, she's also drunk and cannot return the phone, nor is her place safe for me to go to because her husband is a violent bastard who loves to try to beat on me when he knows Elaine won't remember.

I did lose my shit a bit after this, mainly at the social worker/babysitter whose actual JOB it is to listen to the troubles of all of the dipshits who bang down my door. She doesn't seem to comprehend this fact, so I leave. As I'm leaving, I am encountered by distressed boy, who wants someone to go walk and listen to him again. Regrettably, I had to decline due to the fact that I am near tears. Between today and the numerous months of multiple daily drunks, depressives, schizophrenics, nymphomaniacs, online bullies, junkies, and mooches,  I have just about cooked my cerebral contents.

Then, Drunk Yeller appears and decides to tell me about how much he thinks of me (which is positive, I think) repeatedly and begins a yarn about his Costa Rican drug operations in the early 80s and his time in the various penal institutions he's occupied. It's just as boring as it sounds, so I'll leave it at that. I have obviously escaped, since I am now typing this, albeit with some tentativeness due to the probability of new annoyances. Oh, I've also managed to get absolutely zero work done today.

The fact is, that while I'm dealing with everyone else's everything, I still have my own stresses. I have an alcoholic idiot stepdad and an enabling mother, a dad that I have no idea how to communicate with because he was an addict for the first 34 years of my life, work I have to do, work I want to do, friends, dreams,  and a fucking life, dammit. Oh yes, I'm also physically disabled, mentally ill, and transitioning. I may just have a bit on my plate as well, and it usually isn't edible.

But nobody really gives a flying fuck about any of this because they are suffering. My door is knocked on at all hours by all manner of people, usually drunk, in a massive meltdown, or both; expecting help from me because the social health system has let them down. Each and every one of them need to feel like someone cares, and I really do, albeit probably too much. It's really difficult for me to say no to everyone, or even one individual, but I'm exhausted and it's taking its toll on me in a vast variety of ways. I always look tired, I'm becoming physically worn down, I'm getting depressed, my eating patterns are going to shit, and my creativity has gone to Mars. My boss thinks I'm this brilliant person, but I'm starting to loathe exiting my bed because of the inevitable...

..."Hey, can I have a minute?"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

21 Junk Heap

I'm a cat who was raised in the 80s, and as such I was exposed to a gritty drama called 21 Jump Street. The series tackled some of the tough issues like abortion and abuse and featured a cast of young-looking characters, making Johnny Depp into a Tiger Beat staple.

Now, 20-odd years down the road, Hollyweird is doing what it always does, turning a great series into a film, except this time Jump Street is a ridiculous frathouse-style comedy. It stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill because they're hot right now, and I can see from the various trailers that this is going to suck on so many levels.

On a superficial level, Tatum and Hill are far too old for the parts they're playing. They both have noticeably thick 5 o'clock shadows that teenagers simply do not possess in addition to facial wear and lines. These facts alone bring the believability factor down to near zero, but there are tons of other issues with this trailer alone.

Next on, we have the police narrative. While the dumb cop plotline has been played to death, these 2 bozos take it to a new level, doing about 500 things that no officer of the law simply could do, but hey, its premise is stupid, so oh well. I'll even forget the fact that you don't have to actually read someone the Miranda Rights until they are actually questioned and not on arrest, as is stated in this flick.

My major problem comes at 3:35 below. You'll notice that the word autistic is used as an insult, much in the way that some ignorant jerk may use retarded. While the original series may have dealt with an autistic character in a plotline, the usage in this film is simply inexcusable.

There are numerous conditions on the autism spectrum and this jab insults a whole load of people and their families. The writers knew that they couldn't use the "r" word, so they tossed in the name of another condition as a synonym and thought nobody would notice. Well I noticed, and I'm not wasting 10 dollars to be insulted.

Fuck you MGM for taking an emotional, groundbreaking series and turning it into yet another unrealistic, trashy affront to comedy.

Warning: This trailer contains tons of NSFW language and pot shots at a few marginalized groups. Watch with this in mind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spy Vs. Spy : Who Cured The Leprosy?

This is a common image of Jesus of Nazareth. While there is much argument as to whether or not said man/deity did exist, faithful believe that he healed 10 random lepers of their disfiguring disease, sending a message of tolerance to the Middle East. Since this event is alleged to have occurred over 1900 years prior to the discovery of drugs to rid the body of the leprosy bacilli, it is not possible for it to have happened, but it's a real feel-good story and millions of people use it daily to make them better people.

Regardless of the verisimilitude of the Christ story, most people in the Western world have certainly heard of the guy.

This grandfatherly gentleman is 98 year old doctor and super-scientist Jacinto Convit. For 75 years, he has worked in developing vaccines and cures for some of the world's most dreaded diseases. Dr. Convit was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for developing a vaccine to fight leprosy. He is also regarded as the man who developed the cure for the awful disease, saving the livelihoods of a great number of people worldwide and providing very real hope where there previously was none. Combined, his treatments have caused the number of new leprosy infections to drop at a rate of approximately 20% per annum. Additionally, his research was the basis for the vaccine against Leishmaniasis.

He currently leads a team at Vargas Hospital in Venezuela that is working on a vaccine to combat stomach, breast, and colon cancer. The therapeutic vaccine combines a tumor sample with BCG and formalin with the idea that the body will recognize the invasive cells when it previously could not, triggering an immune response  that attacks the malignancy. While still in early stages, this therapy has very few side effects and will hopefully replace chemotherapy, becoming a real cure for a disease which has claimed millions.

There is no disputing the fact that Dr. Jacinto Convit has altered the lives of so many people around the world, with his work continuing to live on long after he does, provided that he doesn't cure dying of old age. A curious science geek can find hundreds of research papers and millions of words that all come from the mind of this brilliant gentleman, and the folks who work with him on a daily basis will attest to the fact that Jacinto Convit Garcia is very much a living human being despite the fact that his accomplishments may seem legendary.

Even though he has truly altered the course of medicine, very few people outside of the medical research field have ever heard of Jacinto Convit.

What's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When Art Evolves

TW: racially charged language, sexual language

  On Friday, I wrote a piece about New York photographer and performance artist Clifford Owens and his intention to take a score written by Kara Walker to a point where he would sexually abuse a random audience member. Needless to say, I received numerous replies via e-mail, Reddit, and other avenues. However, I wasn't the only one to get a message about Mr. Owens' intentions. The author of the score also did, and she was horrified enough about Mr. Owens' extension of her idea that she issued the following to Clifford Owens:

I am withdrawing my piece from your Anthology Series. Your interpretation of my score, which I composed as a hypothetical, a ‘modest proposal’ in the Swiftian sense has pushed at the boundaries of what I deem acceptable. It has been told to me that you plan to take the gesture a step further and “force a sex act” on a viewer in an up coming performance.  I refuse to have this idea of mine cause anyone physical harm.  Challenging and highlighting abusive power dynamics in our culture is my goal, replicating them is not. Please cease and desist.”

Even though Ms. Walker had requested Owens not perform her work, the decision whether to "take it there" and face the consequences or find an alternative rest upon the shoulders of the 40 year old artist.

So what went down at the Museum of Modern Art this afternoon?

As it turns out, Kara Walker showed up and participated in her inaugural live performance.

According to Gallerist's Rozalia Jovanovic, it went down as follows:

“Perhaps they are wondering what they will do or how they will react if they are chosen,” Ms. Walker said in her opening remarks, a show of empathy with the audience, many of whom, she added, may have read Gallerist’s article or heard about what Mr. Owens planned to do in this performance. She explained that she first heard of his intentions to force a sex act on an audience member in the article we published on March 8. She then told the audience what they could expect: Mr. Owens would say things like “I’m going to fuck your brains out,” and “You know you want it, baby” and “This is what you think I am, just a nigger toy.”

And while Mr. Owens performed the score similar to the way he had in previous performances, by walking around the room selecting audience members to move in on and kiss or grope, this time he seemed inhibited, somewhat emasculated, as Ms. Walker remained in the center of the room with him, as if on sentry duty, diffusing his machismo, at times kneeling and watching him as if ensuring that Mr. Owens didn’t force someone to engage in a sex act.
At other times, with an angry expression that felt very real, as if she didn’t want to be part of this, she challenged him with questions like “Why did you ask me to do this?” and “Why did you put me in this situation?” He would talk to her—”Kara, I need your help,” or respond, as if to the audience, “Why did you come here? What do you want from me?” or speak in soliloquy as he marched around with a glimmer of his normal cocksure attitude, “This ain’t nothing but a high tech lynching.” Mr. Owens and Ms. Walker would walk in a circle engaged in a kind of war of words.
There is a fine line between provocation and unacceptability that exists in all facets of life, as well as in the art world. Kara Walker is a woman who is acutely aware of this sometimes murky difference between right and wrong, so her and Clifford Owens altered an idea and put the power in a place not before witnessed. While Owens' performances have been criticized as phallocentric and misogynistic, he ceded his control somewhat and created something new. The audience was treated to a surprise in which they felt relaxed instead of threatened. Clifford Owens did something he never had before out of necessity and it was a success. 
One is now left wondering if Kara Walker's policing altered this performance alone or planted a seed in the mind of an artist known for his controversial treatment of living and inanimate subjects. Will Owens become Mr. Nice Guy? I doubt it. But will he stop and think before molesting women or live animals in front of live audiences? Only time will tell.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Your Daily Awesome

Dylan is a kid who came out to his old-school Italian pop last year and went off to school. Today, he came home for spring break and his dad had a little surprise for him.

Grab your Kleenex kiddos.

WTBlue F*ck Of The Weak

  GOP candidates ran on the premise of jobs, jobs, jobs, but since being elected, it's been a series of one uterine invasion after another. Lawmakers used to try to hide regulations inside other bills, which is how socially-charged issues banning things like same-sex adoption slipped through in some parts of the United States, but now they're just being upfront about their disdain for anyone and anything they do not agree with.

The sheer magnitude of legislative bullshit became most apparent recently in the Georgia State House where a bunch of old white dudes were debating a bill designed to ban abortions after 20 weeks, even if the fetus would be stillborn or born with severe anomalies resulting in death soon after. In a so-called fetal pain bill, a physician would be required to comply with new regulations or face 10 years incarceration.

The appeal to emotion obviously got intense, with Rep. Terry England rising to deliver a speech that was as follows:

“Life gives us many experiences. I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive — delivering pigs, dead and alive. … It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it."

“You know a few years ago, I had a man come to me in our store, it was when we were debating, talking about dog and hog hunting, I believe, and at that point there was some language inserted in there that dealt with chicken fighting. And the young man called me to the side and he said, ‘I want to tell you one thing.’ And y’all, this is salt of the Earth people I’m talking about, someone I would have never in a hundred years expected to tell me what he told me that day.”
“He said, ‘Mr. Terry, I want to tell you something. You tell those folks down there when they quit killing babies, they can have every chicken I’ve got.’”

I'll at least give Rep. England some credit here for being upfront about his views on those who possess uteri. You're livestock; your sole purpose being to reproduce. And don't you forget it.

If you don't believe me, here's the horseshit right from the hillbilly's mouth.

Rep. Terry England compares women to cows, pigs and chickens. from Bryan Long on Vimeo.

By the way, House Bill 954 passed by a huge margin. 102 people decided that half of you were equivalent to animals on a factory farm. Only 65 folks voted against it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

When Art Becomes Evil

TW: Rape, assault, sexual assault, mention of animal abuse.

Clifford Owens is no stranger to the world of performance art. Since November, the frequent university lecturer has performed a series of scores, written by others, in front of live audiences. In some displays, he has groped and kissed audience members, fondled vegetables, and even molested chickens. But on Sunday, he plans to go one step further in an effort to provoke his audience and the art world at large.

Sunday will be his last show, during which he will perform this Kara Walker score:

“Score: French kiss an audience member. Force them against a wall and demand Sex. The audience/viewer should be an adult. If they are willing to participate in the forced sex act abruptly turn the tables and you assume the role of victim. Accuse your attacker. Seek help from others, describe your ordeal. Repeat.”

All in all, this sets up a scenario where Mr. Owens may actually rape someone (or multiple people) on stage or falsely accuse someone of said crime whilst pretending to be victimized. While he acknowledges that he doesn't think it will involve penile penetration, it might. At the very least, Mr. Owens will peruse the audience for victims of his choosing and force himself upon them. For the African-American artist, it's a game where he gets to play with power dynamics and racial theories, but even he sees a problem with getting psyched up to do the show: "There's a reason why I don't try and force a sex act on the audience. But on Sunday, I'm going to take it there. And I'm really nervous about it.", mused Owens when questioned.

I, for one, think that rape, real or pretend, is not art. While I have defended exhibitions where people have shat on stage or pissed on crucifixes, this is different entirely. With a captive audience, Clifford Owens may feel a rush, one that will take him to the point of sexually assaulting another human being. The audience will want more, and collective apathy could cause a very real person to be very really harmed. All it will take is someone to be too terrified to physically resist the "artist" and Owens will violate someone with the express consent of viewers.

On Sunday night, there will be many women in New York who will be sexually attacked and you and I will be powerless to stop these most heinous of crimes. But one man, fascinated with his own private parts and the sexual exploitation of everything within reach, will attack people and call it art.

Whether it's in pornography or on a stage, I have a serious problem with the term art being applied to the degradation of human beings, as well as non-human animals. As someone who has made a living from art, I'm absolutely disgusted that someone could equate something I find absolutely repugnant with something amazing. But, moreover, as a victim of rape, I find it absolutely appalling that someone could trivialize my experience and those of others.

I really hope nobody attends this brutal performance, I really do, but I know that there will be the curious; those looking for someone willing to test this limits of what society deems acceptable. All I can hope for now is that when Clifford Owens steps on stage, he is immediately arrested for Conspiracy to Commit Rape.

Art is a wonderful thing- sometimes it's dark, sometimes pure; it can be on stage or on a canvas. It captivates the eye and makes you think. It could be an image of a war gone by or a guy hanging from meat hooks to see how much he can take, and when it is live, consent is a given in art. Regardless of what you call it, violence against a woman with limited or no consent is criminal. Where I come from that's not called art- it's called evil.

Image credit: On Stellar Rays

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Media Moment: Misappropriation Nation

TW: Images of racism, slavery, animal cruelty, and genocide

There are a good number of you that know I have written a ton of papers on religion, atheism, spirituality, as well as the media portrayals thereof. Myself, I do not believe in any gods or goddesses presented before me, but I do have great respect for our planet, revering it in the way many people may view whatever they may believe in.

I am also a critic of many organized religions, their texts, and the way in which adherents use belief to either better their existence or make that of others intolerable. I am well versed and I do have opinions of religions. In my eye, some make more sense than others, some condone brutality whereas others view an ant as sacred, some subjugating women whilst others celebrate them.

I do primarily have problems with Abrahamic faiths. As ones I have been exposed most to, I will describe my experiences with them, their followers, and their founders. Sometimes I will even use text to point out what someone else may use to base their own bigotries on. With theoretic acceptance of rape, racism, genocide, infanticide, slavery, and more, men of the past and present have indeed used the Bible, Torah, Talmud, and Qu'ran to justify their reprehensible actions. I can most certainly ponder and write about these things and discuss them amongst my peers.

Naturally, religious groups aren't the only gathering of like-minded folks. There are clubs for gay people, motorcyclists, vegetarians, hockey fans, and quilters. And there are those too for atheists, so imagine my dismay when I opened a message from American Atheists linking to a piece on this billboard.

Needless to say, I was shocked. I could not understand how anyone would view this as acceptable. While it is absolutely true that the bible was used in the defense of slavery in the political arena, it's also true that not all of those who owned slaves were of the Christian faith. Moreover it's cruel to use imagery that cuts far too deep. Needless to say, this billboard does not speak for this atheist.

Seeing this print ad certainly made me feel, I'll give it that, but the emotions that come to mind are disgust, embarrassment, but mainly, serious sadness. It made me feel as bad to be atheist as when PeTA used this image as part of an installation back in 2003 when I was considering vegetarianism. The exhibit toured for 2 years before PeTA finally pulled it and issued an apology. I went veg a year later and it had nothing to do with PeTA.

Use of shock, be it in print or on the airwaves, has a tendency to actually repel your potential audience. Instead of accolades, you may receive negative consequences for the ignorant way in which you voice your message. You can lose listeners, readers, potential members, clients, and your respectability when you engage in such thoughtlessness, and in my opinion, you should.

Freedom of speech does not grant you immunity from the ramifications of said speech. Just as you are allowed to say what you wish, others are permitted to feel shocked, horrified, and exploited, and use their voices to convey disagreement with your choices and opinions.

With precedents like the one just above, American Atheists should have known that misappropriating an image of a horrible tragedy would upset people. A degrading image was used to shame others, and in kind, the display humiliated every atheist I know.

Terrible events have marred human history. There are well-known tragedies and some stories yet to be told. However, these events are autonomous- they're to be remembered with respect and not used for political or social gain, whether it is comparing Obama to Hitler or today's Christians to racist slaveholders. We shouldn't have to tell people that doing this is wrong, but in our self-centred and thoughtless world, we sometimes to have to check the behaviour of others in our group and say "That's not okay. That doesn't speak for the rest of us. Knock it off.".

 You cannot gain respect unless you give it, and once you have it you can lose it with one disgusting deed. American Atheists stole history from African-Americans, and even if they only did so for a scarce few days, they have brought a backlash against all atheists and religious critics. American Atheists used history as a weapon and it backfired, and as someone inadvertently caught in the smoke cloud, I'm downright pissed.

The Breakdown: The XTra Doesn't Speak For Me Edition

  XTra is a Canadian news outlet that proudly proclaims itself to be our premier source of LGBT- related news. Since the long-gone days of The Body Politic, XTra has certainly been at the forefront of queer media here and is also gaining a global audience, ready to soak in everything from political happenings to interviews with their favourite avant-garde artists. And with due respect to all of the good things XTra has accomplished in the past, they have done some things in recent years that range from baffling to horrifying.

  Today marks International Women's Day- a day to spark dialogue and profess appreciation; one to protest abuses and call for action. I would expect XTra to shine the light on lesbian rape victims in South Africa, trans women incarcerated overseas, or at the very least, odes to all of the mothers that made the writers possible. But when I opened XTra's Twitter feed this morning, they linked to this video.

  I'll begin by saying that nothing contained in this video speaks for me. I have no desire to steal women's spaces, let alone a most important day on the calendar. Not only does this glorify the co-opting of women's spaces by trans* men, but reinforces many radfem tropes, namely that we're often simply unhappy dykes. It's this kind of thinking that kept me from transitioning until later in my life. Being a trans* person is not a choice, and having problematic misogynist Buck Angel telling kids they aren't really thinking things through; that he is a man but they aren't reinforces stereotypes and can cause serious distress in the younger trans* population. Coming out as the human being I am took years of thought and involved substance abuse, self-harm, psychiatric hospital commitments, and worse. But, on to the most important thing...

XTra promoted this as a piece about trans* men being part of the lesbian community, and they did it on International Women's Day. They spliced together clips about men to post a piece on a day reserved for women. Every other day of the year is for men in our society, so they have hundreds of other days to air this offensive piece, but they chose this for a reason. They did it to erase women from the picture, and that's so manifestly atrocious that I can barely come up with the words to convey how I and other thinking members of our community feel.

I'll end by telling you wonderful mamas out there that I do not want to occupy your pubs, spaces, days, or festivals. There are some places, designed to be safe, where I do not belong. While it is important for gay, trans*, and nonconforming men to have harm-free arenas to be themselves, invading those designated for women, particularly lesbians, is wrong. Theft of space marginalizes women, especially in a day and age where many of these events exclude trans* women . If Buck is right about only one thing, it is the fact that gender does not involve what you carry below the belt. If you identify as a man and wish to be perceived as one, you aren't a lesbian. Period.

Shame on XTra and any of the men who knew they were going to be a part of this insulting farce. Most of us want to foster unity among queers and we're not going to do so while our media outlets are categorizing trans* men as dykes and trans* women as secretly male. So here's a big fat moon to XTra for their stupid stunt and much love to all of the wonderful women harmed by a segment of queer culture that still views male as the ideal.

Now go hug your girl, daughter, mum, or best friend. She deserves it. It's her day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time To Pet The Peeve

  Here's the deal- you're at a shindig; you may be sitting or standing, sipping wine or downing a beer. It's a social event so you try to converse without having a panic attack/stuttering/leaving. And then it happens- a woman reaches into her brassiere and removes a lipstick, money, weed, or a mobile phone.

  Then everything stops.

  Everyone in the general vicinity winds up looking at this woman's chest. Some mamas are oblivious to it, and some are outwardly proud to the point of being as obvious as possible about the fact that they're using their bras as substitutes for purse or pockets.

  And this is not a good look. It makes everyone in the room feel something, and it's usually not interpreted in the way the person answering the text from her tit thinks. And while the reception may differ based on location, it tends to make others feel uncomfortable. For me, I feel awkward and weird. If I call someone out on it or express any form of obvious discomfort, a woman will usually say something like "you know you like it", but the thing is, I don't. There's just something unsettling about smoking a joint that has been under one of your cousin's breasts, but all joking aside, my aversion is because it embarrasses me.

  There are things that people can do that make others shy out, and the titsling totebag is at the top of my personal list. I asked numerous friends and they agreed. When they bear witness to bra purse, they don't know how to react. Some are terrified they'll be seen as perverts because they noticed; some pretend they are oblivious; some point it out. The point is- it hits the radar of 99% of people and the majority of folks who actually do like it are creepy fucks you don't want near you.

 Please, ladies, drag queens, and anyone else who likes to wear bras, use them to hold what they were intended to. Stop assaulting peoples eyeballs and psyches and weirding out your friends and relatives. If you absolutely must put things in your bra, please do it in the ladies' room.

  Thank you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Brave : Part One

  I began writing this over a week ago..

  I shut the phone off tonight. No mobile, no UberTweet, no texts -- all because a human being doesn't get it. Although I'll freely admit that I've had sex with this woman, she expects me to accept open sexual harassment including touching in front of my friends. Tonight, I confronted her about outing me to her parents. She treated it cavalierly and then phoned me to attempt to force me to apologize for bringing up the mispronouning and numerous outings. To her, I was expected to beg for forgiveness for mentioning her transphobia and cissexism. I refused to comply with her demands and also to give her "her" booze. (she claims she'll pay me back)

So I turned off my phone. I turned it off while Jay drank half a soda and a glass of water. I had a hipster beer and did a rolling paper run. We smoked a coupla hand roll smokes, a roach, and more. My decision to turn off my phone introduced fun, and even though I'm sitting in my apartment alone drinking an Okanagan Sprongs 1516 lager, I'm content. And less stressed. I don't feel like more of a man; I feel like an improved example, something that may approach the meaning Linnaeus was going for.

Recently, I'm not learning a thing a day -- I'm completely expanding my mind. I'm closer to who I was before a few new headwhackings. It's amazing.

****this would be the point in which the girl, Dr. Pakula, and my cat would interrupt me and enjoy my cooking expertise for several hours****

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Song In My Head

  When I was a kid I was essentially a small, skinny dorky boy,  My siter was 4 years older and far more rad in the musical arena, so I got my mitts on the double LP set  this was on. It cost me $22.85 Anywho, I recorded it onto cassette and my sister let me borrow her Walkman. The cute, rich, everywhatever girl in school wanted to listen to my Walkman, so I let her. This song came on. She thought I was somehow cool afterward.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Your Daily Darwin

As a Canadian, I'm expected to not laugh at the misfortune of others, but this is too funny. The CBC is huge in Canada, and millions turned on their televisions to find this young lady in their background.

I always give my lady friend the seide-eye when she does this, and here's why.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Quickie

Sometimes in life there are coincidences so spectacular that some folks try to blame them on the supernatural.

This man-made feature of Nagasaki, Japan is one of those.

Media Moment: The Gif Goes Gaga Edition

 This GIF has been floating all over the interwebs for a little while now. It's of musician Lady Gaga dressed as one of her art aliases, Jo Calderone. You may have seen Jo strutting on an award show, throwing a beer in a music video, or lifting his shirt as in the image above.

But make no mistake kids, Gaga's not doing this in solidarity with the trans* community, in fact Jo is an outlandish caricature of the drag king/ trans*man archetype. Complete with exaggerated gestures and peculiar posturing, Ms. Gaga has made it clear that Jo is just another attempt for her to garner personal attention by ridiculing other people.

Some say that imitation is flattery, and it often is, but with Gaga, her cartoonish portrayals of everyone from the disabled to ethnic and gender minorities actually demean instead of inspire. For Lady Gaga, the trans man is just another character, not an individual, just something to turn into her next Haus of Gaga project. For her, she can change into whatever she feels will cause the most controversy, but the rest of us really were born the way we are, as human beings and not trends, with loves and lives and jobs, hopes, dreams, and fears.

So here's a news flash, queer kids- Lady Gaga really doesn't give a damn about you. If she did, she wouldn't be glorifying something that could put you in the hospital. Tape binding is dangerous, and I know because I have had a trip to emerg and have 2 permanent scars from binding this way. Don't do it....EVER. Moreover, learn to see the difference between an ally and someone who is just using your struggle to further their bottom line. Some folks stand behind you in support and some do it to stab you in the back.

You were born with an ability to think critically, so do use it. Always question the motives behind what you are shown and told. You don't need a song to tell you to be yourself. Self-worth cannot be acquired in a boxed set at Wal-Mart for $29.99.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This Is Not Fox News

TW: Transphobia, sexism, psychiatric abuse, cissupremacy, homophobia, reparative therapy.

  Barbara Kay is a noted right-wing columnist who is currently in the employ of Canada's National Post. Her often grammatically challenged rants challenge the reader's emotions; comforting the Caucasians and inspiring nervousness in everyone else. Her articles have been called racist, anti-feminist, Islamophobic, and more, and today she has added universally appalling to the list.

  Her piece, titled Sex and the Troubled Mind, is her grand opinion piece on transgender and nonbinary individuals. It makes the reader feel uncomfortably, uses mispronouning throughout, and presents a discredited doctor's opinions as fact.

I further warn you that the italicized excerpts are not words of my own and may trigger some people.

It’s not every day a man has a baby. Which is why Neil Hope and “his” baby are in the news. Neil Hope, now 37, is a transsexual female who underwent gender-reassignment surgery in his 20s, but left her uterus intact. With the help of artificial insemination, Hope conceived a baby and gave birth last year. This case is unusual, to be sure, but it has naturally inspired questions about the ethical limits of assisted-reproductive technology.

Note the quotation marks around his, which is the beginning of a tirade designed to make the reader believe that transgender men are not male. Also, Mr. Hope is a transgender man, and do notice the segue from his 20s to her uterus. Ms. Kay then states that her article is supposed to be about reproductive technology, failing to warn the reader that it is really a prescriptivist transphobic rant.

Transgenderism and its social implications is a hot topic these days. Recently Toronto and the world were abuzz with the story of a 4-month old baby whose sex was being kept a secret from everyone but the immediate family. In related news, a school in Sweden dropped all references to sex in its nomenclature, and was offering children only sex-neutral toys (dolls yes, trucks no – this is the new “neutral” amongst social constructionists).

Grammatical error: it should be are a hot topic. Ms. Kay also feels that refusal to conform to her ideas about gender is evidence of a trans takeover.

In the old days, it would have been quite acceptable to call Neil Hope’s bizarre experiment freakish, not only in the literal dictionary sense – “a very unusual and unexpected event” – but as an assessment of the psychological state of the individual behind the decision. Many people will still identify the act and the person as freakish, but behind closed doors. It has become politically incorrect to suggest that transgenderism or transsexualism is anything more than an alternate lifestyle, perfectly healthy just as all other sexualities are. Moreover, to think otherwise, to think that transgenderism is a medical problem, say, is to be guilty of heteronormativism. In the new parlance, “normal” is not how people are born biologically, it is whatever they think they are. Slotting people into binary roles – male, female – merely on the basis of genitalia is to be a narrow, intolerant rigidly socially constructivist.

In the good old days, trans folks were freaks, disturbed people who had chosen to live in a psychologically disturbed state. Critics of this philosophy are now victims of political correctness.
That is certainly Neil Hope’s take on his/her situation. He/she says: “Trans people make amazing parents, the same way they make amazing children and they make amazing siblings and husbands and wives.” No suggestion here that believing you were born in the wrong body is in any sense a tragedy, or something one might wish to seek psychiatric help for. It’s all good!
Barbara Kay continues to further reinforce the denial of autonomy in trans people by using his/hers, and subsequently takes a stab at the mental health of law-abiding transgender individuals.
The reality is that we know very little about what drives the desire to be the other sex. Sex is an objective reality. But “gender identity” is a subjective condition – an attitude towards oneself that may externalize itself in behaviours like cross-dressing as its self-expression. It is a phenomenon scientists know little about, and they should have the right to explore it without being intimidated by the sexual relativists who have thus far commandeered discussion around it.
Psychologists must have free reign over the correction of these people who are victimizing the poor social constructionists.
In the November, 2004 issue of First Things Magazine, Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins University, wrote an interesting account of his university’s adventures in sex reassignment surgery. He interviewed many men before their surgery (most cases of sex reassignment are male to female). He says they spent a lot of time talking about sex and their sexual experiences, which preoccupied them. Many of them claimed to be “lesbians,” who found women sexually attractive. And – a telling detail – “discussion of babies or children provoked little interest from them; indeed, they seemed indifferent to children.”
Ms. Kay refers to whom she believes are trans women as men. It's also known now that many of the people Dr. McHugh interviewed did not have gender-confirming surgery and were drag queens or cross-dressers. In fact, they weren't even patients, but were paid for their input. Included is the erroneous claim that the majority of "cases" are in people assigned male at birth. Naturally, these perverts also don't like children.
Dr. Hughes wanted to know more about his patients. He wanted to test the claim that sex change would solve the patient’s suffering, and that changing genitalia allows the individual to settle easily into the new role, i.e. he wanted to know whether gender really is merely the result of cultural shaping.
Kay begins addressing Dr. McHugh as Dr. Hughes for no apparent reason, a trend that continues throughout the remainder of the editorial. It must be noted that Dr. McHugh's supposed research was proven fraudulent and has been universally debunked. Also, the author and the debunked doc confuse sexual fetishism and internalized homophobia with gender identity, something Barbara Kay uses to confuse the reader.
When his team started tracking their sex-changed patients, they found that few regretted the change, but “in every other respect, they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work and emotions as before.”
Naturally, people who have taken years to confirm their identity are happy with it, but it's not a life transplant. 
Dr. Hughes and his team ultimately decided to stop doing the sex reassignment surgeries. Their conclusion was “that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.” Instead of pretending that a “man” having a baby is something to celebrate, we should lend our efforts to research that will lead to a cure for this terribly sad psychological problem.
Barbara Kay concludes her diatribe by stating that transgender people should be forced into psychiatric care and cured of what she views as a treatable affliction.

Canada prides herself on being a decent nation, full of a diverse array of folks that generally live in a cooperative and inclusive manner, but there are exceptions, and Barbara Kay is there to serve the petrified ultra-right wing. She is part of a machine that has no desire to learn, but yearns for control of those not her. The Conservative rise in Canada ensures that Orwellian preachers like Ms. Kay continue to live in their upper middle class enclaves, safe from blacks and the poor and anyone whom they deem too freaky.To step out of line is to warrant involuntary medical experimentation in Barbara Kay's world, an enigma so paranoid and exclusionary that Wyndham couldn't have imagined it.

While our American friends were cheering the suspension of a CNN anchor for a few sports tweets, Barbara Kay was writing a manifesto that was read by a million people or more. Her expressions are not vague; it's not a few words of sissy-shaming. Thousands of characters to tell the nation to hate their neighbours, to spread falsehoods, to call for the forced medical treatment of people just so she doesn't have to read about a person she has never met having a family that's not really much different from her own. Eugenics in the name of normalcy. This isn't 1920's Virginia, 1960's Mississippi, or even Fox News. This is Canada, the True North Strong and Free; a place that honours liberty but penalizes bigotry. Barbara Kay's bosses need to know that hate against one citizen impacts us all - it punishes those who are already oppressed and weakens our unity as a people.

Barbara Kay wrote her piece to turn people against her fellow citizens; to prescribe and divide. From Muslims to women to the gender-variant, she thinks we're all soft targets ripe for ridicule. It's high time that the National Post and Barbara Kay become aware that transgender people are not objects for entertainment and research value.

To petition the National Post to suspend or fire Barbara Kay for her continued attacks on marginalized populations, click here