22 December 2008

I came across this wonderful artwork today, via The Roadside Scholar (link at right) who always has such great appreciation for everything in the world. She links to another blog, who links to this image. It is a print of the United States with each state's "motto" emblazoned on its face. The work is by artist Emily Wick. I really like it a lot. You can buy it here:

21 December 2008

I've decided that I really dislike the last book in the Virgin Vampire series. Beginning with Twilight, the first in the series, a read which I actually enjoyed, the novels have seemingly declined in their ability to keep me interested and less disgusted with the blatant patriarchal, misogynist, sexist, romantic bullshit.

I have visited Stephenie Meyer's web site a few times, and although I congratulate her for creating a publishing phenomenon that centers on a female protagonist, or MC as my students might say, I resent her anti-feminist thread. Of course not every book has to be "feminist." But why, I ask you, why does the single most popular YA book right now, perhaps ever, have to be about romance? And not sexy, funny, empowering romance, but old-fashioned, chaste, practically abusive-masculinist-heteronormative romance? And why does Bella have to be such a fucking idiot? Why does her life have to revolve around feeding her father and leeching onto her vampire boyfriend? Why can't we ever have a female MC who eschews romance for something more interesting? Empowering? Enlightening?

My students sometimes complain when I make them read Seventeenth Summer, a wonderful, lyrical book from 1942 that is in so many ways the Ur-text for YA. They complain because it's very lyrical and descriptive (read: boring to contemporary teens) and it does have Angie's (the MC) life revolve around Jack--but, the novel also has Angie LEAVE Jack to go off to college. Proto-feminist, I say. I guess I long for another Angie--a modern version of Angie who recognizes that romance has it's place, but should not be the be-all end-all of a young woman's life.

13 December 2008

Thinking about buying someone a wonderful piece of art this holiday season? Consider this . . . "Moon Catcher" by Katrine Kalleklev. It's a steal at 30 bucks. There's a link to her web site at right which has a link to her Etsy shop.

12 December 2008

I admit it--I love reading the Twilight novels. But I also love making fun of them, and how completely anti-feminist they are. My sister got mad at me this morning for saying the books were "romance novels" as opposed to YA vampire texts. She's a hopeless romantic! I'm a hopeless cynic and obnoxious consumer of popular culture! Yippee!

Anyway, the above video is by Sarah Haskins whose Target Women series is fucking hilarious and completely funny. You go, Sarah!

09 December 2008

The cat that invaded our house!

His name is Jacks, and Marcy is not his biggest fan. I finally talked with his owner today who came to retrieve him. Jacks is very sweet and seems to have been spending time at many homes throughout the neighborhood, killing mice, eating, and hanging out.

He's a part-time cat!

07 December 2008

Here's a sharp litle poem by Ezra Pound. I think it is the perfect tribute to my feelings about winter.

Ancient Music

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Ezra Pound

04 December 2008

I was alerted to a very scary column from the New Zealand Herald yesterday. I was reading the great site Feministing.com, and they had posted a link to this hateful, misogynistic rant by Garth George. I suggest you read it for yourself, and then send his publisher an email. Why is this man being published?

Garth George : Abortion at the heart of all abuse - 27 Nov 2008 - NZ Herald: Opinion, Editorial and Reader Comments

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26 November 2008

23 November 2008

The dictionary defines tenure as: status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period, indicating that the position or employment is permanent.

This academic year, I am going up for tenure. This is how I feel.

13 November 2008

I don't know how I came across this video, or why I like it so much, but here it is. It's called Charleston Style.

There is a lovely cat in my neighborhood who wanders around loose. I think his name is "Jacks," and from time to time he sneaks into my house and hangs around for awhile. Marcy is not a big fan of this intrusion, but so far they have stayed away from each other and no fur has flown. He is really quite sweet.

10 November 2008

The other day I came home to find this on my kitchen floor.

I was horrified, of course, and worried. Marcy is now ten years old, and has an increasingly sensitive stomach. At first I thought it was vomit, but later realized it was poop. After a trip to the venerable Dr. Van, Marcy was diagnosed with a mild case of colitis, and is now on chicken and brown rice for a week! Poor little poopy girl . . . I love you, Marcy!

07 November 2008

I admit it--I LOVE Rachel Maddow, and of course I adore Keith Olbermann. Here is Ms. Rachel on Colbert talking about today's issues and, of course, Keith--the king of cable! God, I really love smart, progressive women . . .

04 November 2008

Today is an historic day . . . no matter what happens.

Update: President elect Obama. I am so excited, and actually (gulp) proud to be a citizen of this country today. I am moved beyond words.

23 October 2008

I have two favorite artists right now--my third has gone missing--does anyone know what happened to Luca Tripaldi? But anyway--my two favorite artists are Katrine Kalleklev and Camilla Engman. Katrine has just posted some new images on her blog, and I want to share them. They are, top to bottom, "The Loneliness" and "The Emptiness."

04 October 2008

Oh, Orenthal James, what can I say? I find it truly fascinating that we can convict you of crimes against property when we could not convict you of a crime against a woman.

I know, you are a black man, and that fact cannot be discounted in our racist culture--but it still amazes me that in general crimes against women count for so much less than theft of property. Maybe its just that we are so obsessed with our stuff that we react so powerfully against theft--but come on! You killed your ex-wife and a man who happened to be there, too. Is this a kind of delayed justice? I don't know.

05 September 2008

What would Noam Chomsky say about all of this bulllshit and fake patriotic hoopla last night? Did anyone else notice that McCain began speaking at 9:11 p.m.??

What the fuck was that? Was that supposed to be symbolic? Oh my god, so moving. It makes me sick.

By the way, what the fuck was Fred Thompson trying to say? "When you lived in a box . . ." How many times do we have to hear about John McCain's suffering? How is it relevant?

02 September 2008

You know, John McCain's choice for VP is not really that surprising to me. She is an ultra-conservative, anti-choice, pro-abstinence, pro-gun, anti-wilderness, the evangelical's darling, choice.

The fact that her 17 year old daughter is now 5 months pregnant should be none of our business, right? Her life is her own. Her choices are her own, as every woman's should be. But here's the problem--when you are a rabidly anti-choice candidate, and one who believes in and promotes abstinence only sex education (which has been proven to increase unsafe sex practices while it does little or nothing to delay sexual activity) your choices and your daughter's are fair game.

Your daughter's pregnancy is an example of your policies, Ms. Palin. Having your 17 year old daughter hold your infant son Trig to hide her pregnancy is a cheap shot, and now you've made her a target. Obama is wrong on this one--you and your daughter are fair game.

Game on, I say. Let the battle begin.

22 June 2008

A few days after the official beginning of summer, I thought a some photos of the beauty in my summer garden would be nice . . .

07 June 2008

I recently went to California to visit my 80 year old mother. Isn't she beautiful? She is really an amazing woman. She has a cat named Blanco who loves to eat her vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald's. He is a nut case. Here is a picture of him.

06 April 2008

Here's a little tribute to some of the dogs in my life. I love these little furry persons. They are so kind, loving and generous with their emotions. Why can't people be more like them?

From top to bottom, these creatures are: Albina (who likes to squeeze into Marcy's teeny bed when she visits), raccoon visitor (I know she's not a dog), Morran (Camilla Engman's beautiful oft-photographed puppy), Gibby (who recently left this earth--we miss you!), and Marcy (my little chihuahua).

23 March 2008

Here is another artist whose work I really like. His name is Kit Malo. Or her? I don't really know. Does it matter? Not really. I love this image--it is so emotional and lovely. You can get some of her/his work on Blueflip Art. Very reasonable, too, besides being just gorgeous. This print is called "Entre le Loup et le Chien."

18 March 2008

Wow. Katrine does it again, with a beautiful, mystical piece of art entitled "I do not know you." I can't really articulate or even describe how much I love this piece. I love the way the figure on the right is looking at the woman on the left--and how she is spurning him, just a little bit.

Katrine will be showing some of her work this spring in Hollywood, California, at a gallery called Tinlark. The show will be from April 12 to May 10. Go, Katrine!

15 March 2008

Marcy enjoying the view from my Mom's window.

Here's my mom's birdbath, full of lovely fall leaves.

Here's some salvia I planted in my mother's backyard in Burbank, California, two summers ago. She's not a big fan of these plants, but I love them, especially when they're blooming. I took the picture last summer.

12 March 2008

feminist motivations . . . (these are from a talk I gave recently to college students)

don't do your boyfriend's (girlfriend's) homework. or write their papers. ever.

don't go out with anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself--even a little bit.

do spend time with people you love--and the people who love you.

don't ever have sex unless you really, truly want to. seriously.

it's okay to ask for pleasure! if the person you're intimate with doesn't or won't reciprocate, dump them. seriously.

don't spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. don't stress about how you look. you look great, believe me.

do love your body. I mean really love it. it's a fabulous, amazing machine--take good care of it, feed it well, use it well, love it.

get to know your body--what makes it happy, what gives it pleasure. boys know this already. but who tells girls its important to know this? I'm telling you now. you need to know how to make yourself happy before anyone else can do it.

don't ever criticize other women for how they look, dress, how much they weigh. criticism of women's appearance perpetuates devaluing women and reinforcing the wrong idea that women are primarily valued for how they look.

realize that everything is political. the personal, in particular, is political. each and every action we take is a kind of political moment. what you put or don't put into your vagina is political. think about this: if your husband beats the shit out of you they used to say "that's a domestic matter--between the husband and his wife."

11 March 2008

Stephen Colbert is sexy. He is very smart. Smart is sexy, no? I realized last night that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made it a little more bearable to live in a world that looks to Dick Cheney and George Bush for leadership. Thank you, guys, for your scathing sarcasm and withering insight into our pathetic administration.

05 March 2008

Here is a little photo tribute to the love of my life, Marcy Keeton Younger.

29 February 2008

Art obsession continues. It's truly amazing how much incredible art there is in the world. One of my very favorite artists is a Norwegian named Katrine Kalleklev. She sells some of her work on Etsy and also has a blog (see links right) that showcases her stuff. She is very nice, too, and always sends me a note or little extra with her art. I admit I am slightly crazy about her work. It is really just so beautiful and moody. She also has a cat named Julius.

Here is one of my favorite pieces by Katrine. It is titled Girl and the House.

The other day here in Des Moines it was very sunny--almost painfully so--but it was very beautiful. The snow and ice were sparkling and glaring at me under the crazy sun and I couldn't believe how amazing it all was. The streets were glowing, shining away, everything seemed illuminated in a strange and ferocious way.

18 February 2008

Okay--this may be a bad thing to say, but why does no one ever talk about the fact that every time someone shoots up a place and kills a bunch of people the shooter is male? I know there are rare exceptions, such as the woman in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago, but almost all of the shooters are men. Why is it that this little fact gets omitted from news reports? They usually tell when someone is black, or white, or latino.

Is it because white males are the default for human in our society? Is it because we expect shooters to be men? I think it is because they are the default, and women and people of color are the "other" in our lovely culture. But here's the real issue--their sex is not mentioned because there is something deeply wrong with masculinity in our society and no one wants to talk about it. Notice that I said there is something deeply wrong with masculinity--not with men. I will acknowledge that most shooters are white males, yes, that is true, but the problem is not with sex--it is with gender--it is with masculinity.

Carol Clover argues in her book Men, Women and Chain Saws that sex proceeds from gender in the modern horror film. What she means is that characters perform gender. No matter what a character's biological sex is, they are coded male or female according to how they "perform" gender. So you are female if you scream; you are not necessarily screaming because you are female. So in the case of all of these shootings, the shooter is male because he is shooting--he is not shooting because he is male.

What I'm saying is that something in our culture--something about how we teach men, primarily, about what it means to be masculine, lets them believe that it is a appropriate expression of anger to buy guns and use them to annihilate a bunch of people.

Here I am, in the middle of February, waiting for the end of winter and just the tiniest bit of spring. Please, oh weather gods, send us some warmth!

What I really want to say is that I love my dog, Marcy, and I feel very badly for her (a 9 pound chihuahua) in this weather. I know its doubly hard for her to go outside and pee or poop.

Here is my pictorial tribute to her and to this frozen wonderland we call Des Moines, Iowa.