Linkdump

Mar. 23rd, 2012 05:12 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (teh interwebs)
My LJ has been rather repetitive lately, all B5 and spinal tumours, so I thought I'd share some interesting, inspiring, and horrifying articles and posts that have caught my eye but that I've been too preoccupied to blog about.

Most of you have probably already read The White Saviour Industrial Complex, one of the many excellent critiques out there of Kony 2012.

In addition to the library workers out on strike (and inside city workers likely joining them soon), Air Canada workers staged a wildcat strike. For obvious reasons I can't join the solidarity actions, but if you can, you should. Also, this is one industry that I feel even the most right-wing, anti-union bigot ought to agree needs to be paid well. I mean, do you want the guy who helps land your plan to be overworked and underpaid?

The largest political protest in Canadian history happened yesterday, with 200,000 students, teachers, parents, union activists, and others striking against proposed tuition hikes. (That article's in French; the English-language press has been stupid about the whole thing. Here's an English article from the CBC, but it downplays the numbers and significance.

Via [livejournal.com profile] symbioid, a heartbreaking article about the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Via [livejournal.com profile] hano, Robert Bales is not the victim. (Robert Bales being the murderous scum who slaughtered 16 Afghan civilians, including children.)

Via [livejournal.com profile] marlowe1: Hey, frum parents! Get your daughter a facelift or she'll never find a husband. I posted some pretty shocking links above but there's something about this one that is just a special kind of wrong.

Watch Bruce Schneier trounce the former head of the TSA in a debate about security.

signal-boosting a petition against forcing American ISPs to police downloads )

ETA: Because the above is pretty grim, watch this video about a blind stray dog living in a trash dump until she's rescued by nice people. It will make you cry but it has a happy ending, I promise.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (abstinence by jaig)
Imitation of my inbox this morning:


From –––––––––––––––––––Subject
Thaddeus Wyatt–––––––––––Massive rod is easy to gain
Facebook–––––––––––––––––"Don't extend it. End it."


Anyway, back to things I don't normally blog about.


My experiences with dogs

Before they went and had a kid, my parents found a stray dog—half Black Lab, half German Shepherd, and took him in. He was a friendly dog, so they figured that he belonged to someone who would soon claim him. They contact veterinarians and shelters, but no one came forward. Time passed. They called him "Dog," convinced that there was no way they'd be able to keep him.

He managed to get out once and get hit by a car. The vet was able to save his life, but the process, which involved metal plates in his legs, was expensive. My mother fundraised at her work to pay for the vet bills, and after that they were finally convinced that the dog was theirs. They named him Kemosabe after the (horribly racist) Lone Ranger character.

I grew up with Kemo as an older brother. I'm a bit biased in this regard but he really was the best dog in the entire world. He was terribly clever and very chill and he went everywhere with us. We'd go on car trips and stop through the McDonald's drive-through. Kemo would get an ice cream cone, which he was able to devour in a fraction of a second.

But pet ownership always ends in tragedy, and when he was fourteen and I was nine or ten, Kemo developed a tumour that grew to the size of a grapefruit. The vet couldn't do anything this time, and we had to put him down.

A cousin had a dog, Misha, that he needed to get rid of because he was moving. Misha was beautiful—a purebred Keeshond. We agreed to take him in. Unfortunately, he'd been bounced from house to house and had serious emotional problems as a result. He would only respond to commands from the person he perceived as alpha male, though he was fiercely protective of my mother to the point that he wouldn't let anyone else near her. He seemed to view me as a sex object, alas.

This grew worse as my parents finally split up. My mother kept the dog, but he was out of control. Eventually, he bit someone, and we had no choice but to put him down or have the state force us to do it. We'd only had him for a year and a half. I was crushed.

By this point, I was eleven. My mother asked me if I wanted to get another dog. I asked why we'd never gotten a cat. My father hadn't liked cats. My mother said, "Sure, why not?" and that was how we both became cat people.

I really do like dogs, though. With the lifestyle I have, I couldn't get one, but I have a blast every time I get to hang out with Evo, my friend's famous puppy.

Alternative menstrual products

I hate periods. And while I probably shouldn't feel this way, I hate women who get all spiritual about their womynly life magicks. I'm pretty sure that these women don't deal with massive blood loss and incapacitating cramps every month. I finally went on the pill continuously, so now I'm only faced with a period four times a year. Better living through chemistry, yay!

When I did have my period normally, I went through several packages of super-long pads (I'm afraid of toxic shock, so no tampons for me) every month. I probably used up half a landfill all my myself. Some of my more environmentally conscious friends thought that this was awful, and yeah, it is. But the sheer amount of blood we're talking about rules out a lot of alternative products unless I quit working and devoted my life to washing out reusable pads every half-hour or so. It would be damned near impossible to get what's, for me, a normal period every month as a teacher, because we don't get regular washroom breaks like one does in an office.

The other thing that I don't like about alternative menstrual products is how preachy their advocates get about them. I have been told that they will solve all of my period-related problems and that I'm a terribly irresponsible person for not using them (also for being on BC, but that's a different rant). All I can say to this is, "Hey sweetie, wanna trade periods?" I've met people for whom activism = menstrual activism, and it's just annoying.

One of the grossest things I ever saw was an appeal by women in Zimbabwe for First World women to donate pads. And certain First World women got all self-righteous about the environmental cost and wanted to donate alternative menstrual products. Completely inappropriate because, of course, the water with which you'd have to wash them out is not very clean, and this could cause all sorts of health problems. But here were these privileged North Americans telling women in Zimbabwe what they really needed. I'm not comparing my scenario to that one, but my feminism—specifically, my belief in dignity and choice—outweighs my environmentalism in this regard.

Regardless, I end up creating much less waste now, since I have my period less frequently. That's my environmental contribution right there.

Thoughts on spirituality

I'm interested in the theory that there's a "God gene"—something biologically innate that makes people perceive the divine. Whatever it is, I don't got it. I was raised agnostic, exposed not just to the fanatical Judaism of my grandparents but my friends' various strands of Christianity, the local Quaker meetings, Baha'i, and later, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Wicca.

Never felt a thing.

I know religious and spiritual sorts can't comprehend what it feels like to not feel spiritual. I've had people tell me that I'm a deeply spiritual person, to which I'm sort of like—what? No. That's projection. I might be a good person by the standards of many religions, but it's neither love nor fear that compels me to act that way.

On an intellectual level, I find it more utilitarian to act as though there is no spiritual world, no afterlife, no rewards, and no punishment. This earth is all we have; these people are the reason why we need to act ethically. No one is going to bail us out with a miracle at the last moment.

But most people aren't religious because they've reasoned it out intellectually. Faith must transcend reason. And I have no faith. I've also had people try to convince me that I have to choose to have faith before I feel faith, but this doesn't work, because what faith? I see no reason why Yahweh is a more sensible god to believe in than Zeus (or the Norse gods, who, face it, are way more awesome). So am I expected to arbitrarily choose a faith and believe in it, and then God will speak to me?

This said, I don't have the disdain that many atheists feel for religious people. I don't think that they're inherently more or less moral than atheists. I have contempt for two groups of religious people: those who get self-righteous about it and try to impose their beliefs on others (or even deny that others really hold the beliefs that they do—see people referring to me as "spiritual"), and people who belong to New Age cafeteria faiths, which I consider to be more of an offshoot of capitalism than any actual religion.

I'd be interested in hearing from people who do believe in some sort of supernatural force to describe how they came to that conclusion.

More later.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Imitation of my inbox this morning:


From –––––––––––––––––––Subject
Thaddeus Wyatt–––––––––––Massive rod is easy to gain
Facebook–––––––––––––––––"Don't extend it. End it."


Anyway, back to things I don't normally blog about.


My experiences with dogs

Before they went and had a kid, my parents found a stray dog—half Black Lab, half German Shepherd, and took him in. He was a friendly dog, so they figured that he belonged to someone who would soon claim him. They contact veterinarians and shelters, but no one came forward. Time passed. They called him "Dog," convinced that there was no way they'd be able to keep him.

He managed to get out once and get hit by a car. The vet was able to save his life, but the process, which involved metal plates in his legs, was expensive. My mother fundraised at her work to pay for the vet bills, and after that they were finally convinced that the dog was theirs. They named him Kemosabe after the (horribly racist) Lone Ranger character.

I grew up with Kemo as an older brother. I'm a bit biased in this regard but he really was the best dog in the entire world. He was terribly clever and very chill and he went everywhere with us. We'd go on car trips and stop through the McDonald's drive-through. Kemo would get an ice cream cone, which he was able to devour in a fraction of a second.

But pet ownership always ends in tragedy, and when he was fourteen and I was nine or ten, Kemo developed a tumour that grew to the size of a grapefruit. The vet couldn't do anything this time, and we had to put him down.

A cousin had a dog, Misha, that he needed to get rid of because he was moving. Misha was beautiful—a purebred Keeshond. We agreed to take him in. Unfortunately, he'd been bounced from house to house and had serious emotional problems as a result. He would only respond to commands from the person he perceived as alpha male, though he was fiercely protective of my mother to the point that he wouldn't let anyone else near her. He seemed to view me as a sex object, alas.

This grew worse as my parents finally split up. My mother kept the dog, but he was out of control. Eventually, he bit someone, and we had no choice but to put him down or have the state force us to do it. We'd only had him for a year and a half. I was crushed.

By this point, I was eleven. My mother asked me if I wanted to get another dog. I asked why we'd never gotten a cat. My father hadn't liked cats. My mother said, "Sure, why not?" and that was how we both became cat people.

I really do like dogs, though. With the lifestyle I have, I couldn't get one, but I have a blast every time I get to hang out with Evo, my friend's famous puppy.

Alternative menstrual products

I hate periods. And while I probably shouldn't feel this way, I hate women who get all spiritual about their womynly life magicks. I'm pretty sure that these women don't deal with massive blood loss and incapacitating cramps every month. I finally went on the pill continuously, so now I'm only faced with a period four times a year. Better living through chemistry, yay!

When I did have my period normally, I went through several packages of super-long pads (I'm afraid of toxic shock, so no tampons for me) every month. I probably used up half a landfill all my myself. Some of my more environmentally conscious friends thought that this was awful, and yeah, it is. But the sheer amount of blood we're talking about rules out a lot of alternative products unless I quit working and devoted my life to washing out reusable pads every half-hour or so. It would be damned near impossible to get what's, for me, a normal period every month as a teacher, because we don't get regular washroom breaks like one does in an office.

The other thing that I don't like about alternative menstrual products is how preachy their advocates get about them. I have been told that they will solve all of my period-related problems and that I'm a terribly irresponsible person for not using them (also for being on BC, but that's a different rant). All I can say to this is, "Hey sweetie, wanna trade periods?" I've met people for whom activism = menstrual activism, and it's just annoying.

One of the grossest things I ever saw was an appeal by women in Zimbabwe for First World women to donate pads. And certain First World women got all self-righteous about the environmental cost and wanted to donate alternative menstrual products. Completely inappropriate because, of course, the water with which you'd have to wash them out is not very clean, and this could cause all sorts of health problems. But here were these privileged North Americans telling women in Zimbabwe what they really needed. I'm not comparing my scenario to that one, but my feminism—specifically, my belief in dignity and choice—outweighs my environmentalism in this regard.

Regardless, I end up creating much less waste now, since I have my period less frequently. That's my environmental contribution right there.

Thoughts on spirituality

I'm interested in the theory that there's a "God gene"—something biologically innate that makes people perceive the divine. Whatever it is, I don't got it. I was raised agnostic, exposed not just to the fanatical Judaism of my grandparents but my friends' various strands of Christianity, the local Quaker meetings, Baha'i, and later, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Wicca.

Never felt a thing.

I know religious and spiritual sorts can't comprehend what it feels like to not feel spiritual. I've had people tell me that I'm a deeply spiritual person, to which I'm sort of like—what? No. That's projection. I might be a good person by the standards of many religions, but it's neither love nor fear that compels me to act that way.

On an intellectual level, I find it more utilitarian to act as though there is no spiritual world, no afterlife, no rewards, and no punishment. This earth is all we have; these people are the reason why we need to act ethically. No one is going to bail us out with a miracle at the last moment.

But most people aren't religious because they've reasoned it out intellectually. Faith must transcend reason. And I have no faith. I've also had people try to convince me that I have to choose to have faith before I feel faith, but this doesn't work, because what faith? I see no reason why Yahweh is a more sensible god to believe in than Zeus (or the Norse gods, who, face it, are way more awesome). So am I expected to arbitrarily choose a faith and believe in it, and then God will speak to me?

This said, I don't have the disdain that many atheists feel for religious people. I don't think that they're inherently more or less moral than atheists. I have contempt for two groups of religious people: those who get self-righteous about it and try to impose their beliefs on others (or even deny that others really hold the beliefs that they do—see people referring to me as "spiritual"), and people who belong to New Age cafeteria faiths, which I consider to be more of an offshoot of capitalism than any actual religion.

I'd be interested in hearing from people who do believe in some sort of supernatural force to describe how they came to that conclusion.

More later.

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sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
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