Sunday, November 18, 2007

Writer's Block.

For the first time in a long time, I'm having trouble writing- everything. Blog posts. A paper for something. A confusing letter to a celebrity I'm obsessed with. Emails to friends...

I think I may blame Christopher Hitchens. Probably not. But I may.

Christopher Hitchens wrote an article for last month's Vanity Fair about an American soldier who died in Iraq. This soldier was inspired to go to Iraq because of Christpher Hitchens' writing. The article was really well done; sensitive, even. Not in the new-age-guy sense; I don't think that Christopher Hitchens will ever don a lavender sweatervest and earnestly consider his feminine side, then decide to give people the benefit of the doubt and look on the world with winsome tenderness. Sensitive in the it-was-written-with-near-tactile-awareness-of-the-people-and-issues-at-hand sense. Hitchens quotes Yeats, a poet that once found that a play of his was quoted by dying revolutionaries-

We learn to write in elementary school, as a speech substitute. It's clumsy. Little kids don't have the fine motor control to write with the facility they speak. They can't spell words that they can easily pronounce. Punctuation is imposed where pauses and tone changes have already become instinctual. Writing is acquired first as a laborious superfluety. If you want to know what a seven year old knows, don't ask him to write it down for you; it's almost cruel.

Then, as we get older, writing, splits into compulsory and voluntary. We are compelled to write five paragraph essays on the French and Indian War, letters to dead Presidents and imaginary Quebecois penpals. (Dear President Lincoln. I hope you are well. Thank you for emancipating the slaves. Je m'appelle Therese, et J'ai dix ans...) We take notes. We forge notes. We pass notes. It's at this time, some begin to imagine that writing is- something that, someday, or now, they can do and be and enjoy. It's at this time we're most vulnerable to writing endless fantasy novels starring ourselves with cooler hair and a better first name and mysteriously absent parents, or greasy swooning romances, again, starring ourselves with cooler hair, etc.

These vulnerabilities persist until death or fulfilling employment end them.

College. College is where you learn to write. Occasionally. Sometimes in class, sometimes after. Sometimes after getting your ass handed to you on your way out the door. You'll figure out how to write nonfiction thingies that aren't assigned and fiction thingies that are more than a congealed mass of self-revelatory fantasy and masturbatory optimism....maybe. (I'm not sure I did. That's why I don't write fiction anymore)

And through all of this...

From the first time you took a purple crayon in your fist and wrote "by ST EV i E," to your breathless, middle-school epic "The Mysts of the Dragyns of LothynDwaryn," to the first time you really felt, turning in a paper, that you'd said something no one ever said before,

nothing really happened afterward. The writing stayed in its world. Papery. Pixelly. Talky. Red-pen-satisfying, semi-colon misplacing, world.

I just completed my first long legal internship. Eleven weeks, full time. I worked in a legal services office in a large city in the Northeast. I haven't been blogging a lot because of confidentiality issues; my work has been incredibly interesting, and absorbing, but I can't talk directly about much of it.

For one of the cases I was working on, I did a great deal of investigation. Turns out I'm very good at it. I'm the Dr. Gregory House of semi-competant lawthings. One of the last things I wrote at work was a document for this case; it was a document which is useful in the beginning of a specific type of legal situation. And I loved writing it. I felt as if my canine teeth should be long enough to see when I caught my reflection in the monitor. It was writing as consumation of investigation; confirmation that my chosen profession was the right choice; and beyond that, there was this sense that I was competent and right and potent...

And then I realized.

This document was the first step towards bad things happening to the people I investigated. The people had done bad things to deserve the bad things that were/are about to happen- but this document will be the first thing that happens to them when their lives come crashing down. And I've learned enough about these people to picture those lives.

It was nauseating.

And until I read the Hitchens article, I couldn't quite put my finger on why. I have no ethical problem with the legal process that has been set in motion. This time, I even had the luxury of being on the right side. Justice, even.

I'm 25 (very old). I've been using written communication, and composing various types of works in writing, for twenty years. And I refuse to find it absurd to clump "If I had a dog" in with my notoriously failed screenplay, by claiming twenty years of writing. But until a few weeks ago, when I wrote, I was always safe. I couldn't fuck anybody but myself. Now the safety's off, and I wonder if it was ever on.

For Yeats it was a play. For Hitchens it was an essay. Journalism and theater are not immune, and it's absurd to think that they would be. Even the most ridiculously masturbatory academic writing has some potential to reach outside of itself, if someone actually picks it up. The only safe writing is writing which isn't read; writing lost in the clamor. Otherwise, it's all a question of degree.

And yes, I did write this instead of writing my paper on Faulkner.

And no, I won't tell you why I should be writing about Faulkner, as a lawthing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In other news, there's a difference between my vagina and your wallet.

A case, annoyingly, patronizingly, and sickeningly referred to as "Roe v. Wade for Men" has finally been dismissed by a federal appeals court.

This case was brought by a gentleman who had a relationship with a woman who told him she was infertile. They had sex. They conceived. He preferred that she have an abortion; she did not. They had a daughter. He prefers not to pay child support. She, and Saginaw County (because remember, kids, to prevent the endless evil caused by 'welfare queens', welfare reform gives the government the right to collect child support on behalf of any child who may receive any form of public assistance) would prefer that he did.

Roe v. Wade for men implies that the issues are the same. They're not. My right not to have someone/something LIVE INSIDE MY BODY, and raise my blood pressure, give me diabetes, hijack my immune system, and possibly kill me on its/his way out, is completely unrelated to anyone's right not to pay any obligation imposed by society. An abortion isn't about not wanting to be a parent, or have parental rights; it's about terminating a pregnancy. Ending the imposition (and I wish I had a stronger word) on a woman's body, by a fetus, has, as a side effect, that no child results. Thus no parental rights. Thus no liability for child support. What this gentleman and his supporters are doing is saying that abortion is about not wanting a child; thus, men should have a post-conception option to disclaim pregnancy, just as women do, through abortion.

"Well, then what is he supposed to do? It's not FAAIIIR." Life isn't fair. It's not fair that a man can dick around for thirty, forty, fifty years after puberty, then start fucking someone twenty-thirty-forty years younger, and still have a child, and women have to decide whether to put up or shut up in less than a dozen years after college. It's not FAIIIIIR that my clothes are more poorly made because they button from right to left instead of left to right. It's not fair that if I accidentally became pregnant, I'd have to begin immediately planning how to pay for, when to have, and where to get an abortion- and then have it. It's not fair that if I did get one, I'd be the one being sedated, dilated, scraped, and reviled, and my boyfriend would only have to suffer the indignities of a less-than comfortable waiting room.

And let's remember: Once a child is born, the obligations to father and mother are equal. It's only prior to birth that the mother appears to enjoy any special privilege. I say "appears" because a pregnant woman is simply an individual who has the legal right to the same bodily sovereignty enjoyed by every other adult or child in America. I cannot force you to have surgery, or not have it- whether it's breast augmentation, penis lengthening, heart surgery, or abortion.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Script-writing robot writes my life.

You know that point in a drama series where Joe Supporting Actor has gotten all caught up in corruption/addiction/scandal, and his daughter/wife/hardy, yet supportive secretary will talk to Jim, Dramatic Guest Star playing tortured public crusader against corruption/addiction/scandal...and they'll have this conversation:

Gal Friday: You can't put him in prison...

Jim, Dramatic Guest Star: I offered him a deal. All he'd have to do is give us some names/check into rehab/put his pants back on and give up the ducks and resign/retire/turn in his badge. No charges would be filed/he'd get off on time served/I'd drop the indictment. He wouldn't take it.

Gal Friday: Don't you understand? Being a doctor/cop/military chaplain/conflicted, yet sexually apealling member of another career track with an inexplicably comfortable apartment for a public servant's salary in this, our over priced metropolis is everything to him. If he's not a doctor or a cop or a military chaplain or said conflicted, sexually apealling member of another career track, he wouldn't be anything at all.

I wonder if that'll be me. I think it might be. I tend to overly identify with what I do. I still miss being a barista. I miss having that identity, being a part of something ... even if that something sometimes was the psychological equivalent of wiping noses and cutting crusts off sandwiches. I think that I'm definitely starting to identify myself as a lawthing. I think as a lawyer, the lawthing thing will become much more of my identity.

I wonder if I'll be grizzled enough to be a Joe Supporting Actor type. Can women be grizzled?

Yeah, women can be grizzled.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why a man wearing a dress is the straightest man ever...

Yesterday I was talking to some other law students, from another law school.

The other law student, a lovely young man from the mid-west, whose hair has assuredly never grown to a length of more than 1 and 1 quarter inches, and owns sneakers which match his tie, asserted that he didn't think there was any difference between being a drag queen, a transsexual, and a transvestite.

I tried to explain it in the driest terms possible. We were at work, after all. "Well, if you're a drag queen, it's just something you do, for any reason, but only sometimes. And if you're a transvestite, you're doing it because it's part of your, um, expression of enjoyment, with another person, or alone. And if you're a transsexual, you're doing it as treatment for a problem you have, like therapy or braces."

Still no understanding. A man in a dress is a man in a dress, right.

I tried to explain it in more oblique, less dry terms:

"Well, see, if dressing up like a woman is any other activity, like, say, stamp collecting, if you're a drag queen, maybe you're a collector, or you're a dealer or something in stamps, but it's just something that you like and maybe you have a talent for it. Like you have a lot of fun collecting stamps and go to a convention, but maybe you only do it for an hour a day, or on weekends, and it's not, like...who you are.

And if you're a transvestite, it's like, well, you're really into stamps. You might, um, think about stamps when you're alone. Or you might have stamps in your pocket while you're at work...as, you know, a token...of your...love for stamps.

And if you're transsexual, everyone always told you that you were a scrapbooker, and you never liked pinking shears, and you tried to stick pictures in books forever, but you always pretended they were stamps, and you really, really, really, want to be known as a stamp collector. So you collect stamps every day, and get active in stamp circles, and soon enough, your whole life is stamps, because cutting out pictures of puppies made you want to die."


That was a really bad metaphor. And I think it made midwestern guy think that I was probably a little more enthusiastic about stamps (the real kind) and too knowledgeable about stamp collecting (metaphorical), to be entirely comfortable.

but, motherfucker, I need to be right. I need to make people understand. So I rolled my chair over to his chair, and I said...

"Listen. Drag queens do it for work or for fun, transvestites do it to get off, and transsexuals do it because that's the way they were meant to be."

And this got me thinking: No matter how much we talk about gay and straight, and worry ourselves over whether we live in a post-gay world, or mutter and furrow brows over the tyranny of the hetero/homo dichotomy...

We're not post-gay. We're not even gay. We're pre-gay. We still believe that the fundamental measure of a person's sexuality is whether they pitch or catch. For thousands of years, across continents, the question wasn't: Are you attracted to people with the same parts, or different parts? It was: Are you going to put something in me, or will you tolerate letting someone put something in you?

My midwestern colleague's stolid, ranch-scented insistence that there is always something gay about a man in a dress, regardless of that man's motivation or attitude towards the dress, or what he plans to do once he's got it on, reveals the persistence of the penetrator/penetrated theory of sexuality. (The positional, rather than orientational theory).

A man in a dress may not always be intending to do something traditionally "gay", but he is always allying himself with the penetrated camp. And when someone capable of penetrating signals that he is open to being penetrated, then he has breached his positional privilege. By breaching his positional privilege, he becomes positionally queer.

by "positionally queer," I mean that he has done something that would cause townies to sneer "faggot" at him, even though what he has done involves no actual attraction towards men. This is, of course, why activities which are distinctively heterosexual (a man taking his girlfriend to a movie involving more than one horse, several moors, and a sweeping orchestral score) can still seem "queer."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I've started an additional blog.

It seems that mostly I write about food, lately- so I've started a new blog exclusively for my absurd, insane recipes which I use as substitutes for human emotion.

I'll try to blog over here more, too; I think it was hard for me to follow up a post about macaroni and cheese, or naming a meatloaf with my take on the candidates for president, or the importance of intellectual property law, or anything that a psuedo-serious law student would like to pretend that she'd blog about.

Hell, or zombies.

Maybe I'll make a pie about zombies, though. That'd have to be posted in both places...

here's the link to my new-ass blog, with one never-before-published recipe.

But seriously, some recipes won't be pie. Some will be other things. Like the empanada I want to make about Rajon Rondo.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why does everyone always move to brooklyn? Brunch Pie Recipe.

This is a pie which is about people moving from the greater New England area, in their twenties. I shared this pie with some fantastic people who are moving from Boston to Brooklyn this weekend, (good luck, folks, if you read this), and a variation follows if you want to serve it as a dessert rather than a brunch pie.

Crust:
1 c. white flour
6 tbl, butter, frozen (takes about 90 minutes in the freezer, but longer won't hurt it).
1 tbl, brown sugar
1/2 tsp, nutmeg.

Pie:
2-3 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped.
1 cup milk
2 eggs and one egg yolk
1/2 c. brown or white sugar
1/4 c. brown or white sugar
1/2 c. walnuts, crushed and toasted.
1/2 c. maple syrup.
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp apple pie spice/or cinnamon and nutmeg.
Vanilla

(Optional- substitute one cup of chunked white bread or pound cake for some of the apple)


Brunch variation (slightly eggier flavor, more firm)

First, make the crust. Grate the frozen butter into a bowl. Work in the flour and sugar and nutmeg, and then add just enough water so that when squeezed, the crumbs form a dough. Don't overwork- some butter lumps are ok, and you want the mixture to remain fairly cold. It won't form a dough per se, but what you want is a mixture which is fairly moist but crumbly. Press into the bottom of a pie pan, and chill for at least fifteen minutes. (Look, ma! you don't roll it out!)

Preheat oven to 425, and bake crust for 12 minutes. It won't be done, but you just want it set enough so the wet ingredients don't sink in.

Into a large bowl, dump your apples, nuts, and spices, and 1/2 cup of the sugar.
toss around a bit, then put into your semi-baked pie shell. Return to the oven for about 12 minutes at 425. (Apples take longer to cook than other things, so this is semi-important - but if you're making it the night before and reheating it in the oven, you don't have to do this.) Remove from the oven.

(AFTER THIS POINT, the recipe is for the eggier, brunchier version- the dessert version will pick up from this point)

You may want to leave your milk out from the moment you start making this if you're using a glass pan, because cold milk hitting hot glass is a recipe for explosions. just keep that in mind.

In another bowl (jesus, do you need a lot of bowls to do this), beat the eggs, egg yolk, milk, maple syrup, remaining flour, remaining sugar, and vanilla. Pour over the apples, and bake at 350 until the middle doesn't wobble. (Maybe an hour, possibly longer. Depends on your eggs)

Dessert Variation:

Remove apples, nuts, and crust from oven and put aside to cool; set oven temp. at 300.

In a heavy saucepan, melt 2tbl of butter with 1tbl of the milk and the flour. Stir slowly until the color is like the wood grain paper that covers cardboard furniture at ikea. Slowly stir in the rest of the milk, and the sugar, and the vanilla, and hold well below boiling. Remove from heat. It should be somewhat thick. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and egg yolk.

Slowly slowly, drizzle a tablespoon of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, and stir. Drizzle another tablespoon of the hot milk into the eggs, and stir. Another tablespoon of hot milk into the eggs, and stir. Another tablespoon of the hot milk into the eggs, and stir. Continue like this until most of the milk is gone, then scrape the rest into the bowl.

Pour eggs and milk mixture over pie crust, apple, walnut mixture. Bake at 300 for fifteen minutes, then 350 until the custard is well set and golden. (As little as a half an hour, as much as an hour- just keep checking it).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What I'd really like to do today...

I'd like to lie on my living room floor. For several hours. I'd like to do this with cds playing, perhaps, because I only own three cds, and yet have a five-disk cd changer, all three.

I'd like to have a chocolate cupcake, only propping myself up sufficient not to choke, and a glass of red wine, and go back to lying on the floor, semi-comatose, until I transition seamlessly into sleep.

What I am doing today: Studying in the library, only interrupted long enough to choke down enough cola and peanut butter sandwiches to keep my brain supplied with life's two most vital nutrients: caffeine and sugar, until I pack up my shit into a backpack and several reuseable grocery bags and bag-lady my way home.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In other news, life ceases to have all meaning.

Evil, selfishness, and short-sightedness have triumphed. The celtics have traded Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett.

Why would someone trade a decade of wins and the rekindling of a legacy, starting in two years, for a year or two of above-average performance, starting right now? What kind of manager would make that type of decision?

Why, a manager who believed that he would be fired before his long-term investment matured, and is willing to sell a team's future down the river. The difference between the celtics and the knicks is no more. The difference between life and death is no more. The difference between Danny Ainge and Isaiah Thomas is only in the color and cut of their suits.

I no longer have anything to look forward to. I dread the fall, I dread finals, I dread beginning my new, unpaid, job, and I dread whatever horrid creature I'm becoming, in this worthless, valueless, hopeless world.

So, where have you been? Part Two: A day in the life.

5:20 AM. I wake up before my alarm goes off, or maybe I was already awake and just waiting to turn it off. I make my bed (this consists of folding it up, because right now I'm sleeping on a futon in my living room, and re-arranging the pillows and blankets until it resembles a couch.

5:30 AM. Breakfast. I slice a banana into some store-brand pink flavored yogurt, top it with slightly stale cereal, and eat it watching the morning news. A paper mill is on fire out on route 2; a girl was raped on the esplanade; and thunderstorms are predicted.

5:45 AM: Thunderstorms begin. I get dressed. I pack my lunch, brush my teeth, and consider fixing my eyebrows.

6:00 AM: I check my email, read the news, and look over my notes for corporations. My group is on today, so preparedness is key. After a bit, I pack up my backpack, put my lunch in a bag, and make sure I have my goddamned Charlie Card.

6:30 AM: Out the door.

6:45 AM: Back in the door. It's raining too hard, and my backpack isn't waterproof. I can't risk my laptop, so I get in the car and drive to the train station.

7:05 AM: Onto the train. Watching the lightning through the windows of the train is pretty cool. Random sudden stops and power outages slightly less cool.

7:45 AM: Arrive at school. I put my books away, get the keys and the cashbox from a locker, and open the CISP kitchen, which is a small room with linoleum floors and a very subtle rodent problem, where I work several hours a week.

8:00 AM-10:00 AM: Work. Mostly sitting. Some counting of money. A little bit of arranging things. Mostly I review my reading for the classes I'll have today, and start the reading for the classes I will have tomorrow.

10:10 AM- 10:25 AM: Run across the street on an errand for work. Run back, grab books, run up three flights of stares, and sit down for...

10:25 AM- 11:45AM: Basic Income Taxation. Fun times were had by all. About a third of my time was spent checking emails and reading CNN. This is considerably more productive than certain other members of the class, who are playing sudoku, doing crosswords, and internet gambling.

11:50 AM- 12:00PM: I am a jackass. I forgot to print out the assignment for corporations. I run up the stairs to the library, print out my document, grab my lunch from the fridge, and manage to get to my seat in corporations in time to get out my books, drop off the assignment, and start to eat my lunch (Yogurt, a granola bar, and half a banana). I like to cut up the banana and put it in the yogurt. It keeps me awake.

12:00PM - 12:40PM, Approx: Corporations, awake.

1:10PM - 1:30PM, Approx: Corporations, asleep.

1:30PM - 2:00PM: Corporations, Awake.

2:00PM - 2:05PM: I run to my locker, trade my corporations books for my Intellectual property books, buy a soda, and get back to I.P.

2:15PM - 3:45PM: Intellectual Property. My favorite class. I don't make a jackass out of myself today, I stay awake, and I'm prepared. A+

4:00PM - 5:00PM: Back to work. This time I'm tabling, sitting in a hallway begging other students to cast votes for...something. I pretend to read evidence for tomorrow, but mostly I zone out.

5:00PM - 6:55PM: My favorite spot in the library is taken. It's a nice little nook on the fourth floor, where there's no wireless reception and a lot of sunlight. I pick another spot, and settle in. I finish my reading for tomorrow, pack up my computer, and trade my books for my gym clothes.

7:00PM - 7:40PM: I arrive at the gym. It's full of undergrads. The girl at the front desk tells me they're closing at 7:45 tonight. I get a magazine and a sweat rag, change, and get upstairs, where I proceed to beat an elliptical trainer half to death.

7:55 PM: Back on the green line. Give up my seat to an old woman carrying a large child.

8:38 PM: Home. I consider dinner. I consider the prospect of doing dishes, and wonder what can be had without doing any before I actually get to eat anything. I microwave a pre-frozen sandwich I bought on sale last week, and cut up a cucumber on the side.

9:10PM - 9:30PM: Eat dinner, blog, make an attempt to call my boyfriend.

And what are my plans for the rest of the night? I'll spend at least an hour, probably two, studying evidence. Then a shower which covers at least the three major areas, followed by collapsing into bed, setting my alarm, putting on a DVD and, before the titles finish, passing out.

Tomorrow will be very similar, and the day after that. The only expected variations will be a decline in the number of hours I can devote to sleep...because, you have to understand, this was me slacking off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kill it! Kill it!

I was walking home from the train station today when something...terrible...happened.

I was just past the fire station when I passed a man pushing a stroller. In the stroller was a baby. It was a classic baby, I suppose, nothing exotic or imported. It was a young baby; I'm not good at the ages of young people; I have to go by size. It was small for a baby, large for a liquor bottle. It was about 1.5 gallon baby. Redheaded, squinty, with that wierd accusatory old man face that the small type of baby generally has. It was drooling and just a little bit crusty.

And it wasn't wearing a hat.

I remember that, because as I passed them, some voice said in my head "Oh, don't you want to put a hat on his little head?".

Don't. You. Want. To. Put. A. Hat. On. His. Little. Head.

Not: For the good of society, will you please wipe that little fucker down or consider a rear-facing stroller? He's gone past sticky to greasy, and it's unpleasant to have that thing wheeled at you on a hill, like that.

But: Don't you want to put a hat on his little head?

Remember, I'm the person who is ready to advocate for a thirty day, no questions asked return policy on those things. I'm the person who seriously considered writing a paper for my animal behavior class that suggested that the delayed appearance of features triggering the "aw" response in human infants is a result of the evolutionary advantage to abandoning infants below a certain age.

Not only am I suspicious of, and hostile to, infants - I don't know a thing about them. I've taken, and passed, child development, but the only thing I got from it is that Russian learning theorists tend to die as young, and of similar (hepatic) causes as other Russian intellectuals. And yet, apparently, I know one thing about babies: They should wear hats. On their little heads. When it's sunny out.

I'm trying to reassure myself that my reaction was not some bastard emergence of then nurturing instinct I have thus far only hoped to extend to large, wealthy african-american men who are strangers to me
.

It's probably nothing to do with babies, and a lot to do with my mom. "Don't you think that baby should wear a hat?" is the only female conversational game* that my mother will consent to play. The rules are simple: Is it sunny out? Can that thing be identified as a baby? Then it should be wearing a hat. So you get to say "Don't you want to put a hat on his little head?" I still haven't figured out whether this game works without accompanying weather conditions. Can hats be suggested on babies for one's own amusement? To go with the general tenor of the moment? If I see a baby at a funeral, can I say "Don't you want to put a comically small hat with a black tulle veil on his widdle head?," or, in the North End "Shouldn't that baby be wearing a fedora?"


*Other famous female conversational games include "Other people's medical problems" "Lets enumerate our imaginary flaws" "Things I would like to buy or own but haven't yet." and "Who would you let put it in your butt?**"

**This is not actually a female conversational game +.

+But if it were, I've got my answer: Prince William, and Prince William only.++

++ Not out of some ridiculous anglo-royo-philia, but because the dollar's down. And if I'm going to have somebody stick something in my pooper, I want to be able to sell the story to the tabloids. And nobody's got a more thriving tabloid culture than the UK. And damn, the Brits would pay a lot for the story of the night the Prince got his brown wings. With exchange rates being what they are, it's likely that royal weiner + my bum could be the smartest investment I'd ever get to make.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

From my walk today.

For some reason, this picture put this mini-movie in my head: Crucified Jesus, on a hill. Red skies. Bible epic costumes and sound. For some reason, Yul Brynner is there. And hanging around Jesus' neck, just like on the door of a small barber shop at lunch time, is one of those signs with the plastic clock face on it, one of those : Back at - signs. Some roman soldier runs up, sniggering, and takes the hands off the plastic clock. The apostles titter among themselves, dissappointed that no one wrote it down. Then somebody goes up there with a sharpie and writes "Soon."

Jesus will be right back, people. As soon as he drops his netflix in the mail and buys a grape slurpie - there's gonna be redemption and there's gonna be half-priced french pedis.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blogging Backup.

I haven't blogged seriously for most of this term; I've let so many important events go by: being solicited as a caterer for a friend's wedding; a trip down south; the whole employment thang.

Why haven't I blogged? Well. Here's the thing:

1. I have much more time now than I had as a 1L.
2. I have much less time now that I am a 2L.

If those two statements seem contradictory, it's because they are. They're also both true. I have much more time now. I've grown my interests back; I've been baking bread and making bagels. I've been getting to the gym more; I've been seeing my family. Unfortunately, the amount of time required to do these things is actually greater than the free time I've acquired by virtue of being a 2L.

It all comes down to poor time management.

So, a month's worth of blogs, in a few sentences, in simplified English, with accompanying illustrations.

June 29 : I had job interviews. Basic Summary, as an east german lolcat: "Yes. I is qualified law thing. Pleaz to hire me for law. Pleaz? K Thx."

June 30 - July 1 : Donuts are good. They are far away. Maryland is pretty. I drank beer. Many barbeque sauces. Oh! So many! Did not see Lincoln. Another time. Happy Birthday to me.

July 3- July 5 : Went to the beach. Nice beach. Wine. Fireworks, yay! I drank beer. Had burger. my friends were there! Yay! Hi Joe! Later.

July 6-July 12 : Holy Shit! Everything is broken! My car goes click click click. My phone won't beep. And sprint smells suspiciously like vinegar and morning dew to me.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Recipe: Big Fluffy Bagels of Sorrow and the Pain of Growing Alienation

For the Bagels:

2 and 1/2 cups of white flour.
1/3 cup of oat bran, ground fine.
1/2 cup of whole oats, ground fine.
1 teaspoon of salt.
1 teaspoon of yeast.

For the water:

Brown Sugar
Salt


For the Sorrow:

The news that someone you love deeply will be taken far away from you, to not only grow apart, but potentially even begin working against you. This needs to be a betrayal you are entirely powerless to prevent, yet something that is considered an inconsequential loss by society at large, so that your family and dearest friends cannot even begin to comprehend the depths of your emotions at this moment.

Suitable sorrows, ranked from highest to lowest yield:
-Delonte West, the best and greatest and most awesome basketball personality to cross the TD Banknorth Fleet O'Rama Parquet, getting traded to Seattle, which means he'll end up in Oklahoma, which means it will be hot and nobody will come to see him, and no one will care about the things he wants to do, like strip naked and drive down crowded highways in a convertible, or believe that he really did talk to Bugs Bunny one time.

-The cancellation, mid-show, of a Morrissey concert. (hi nichole! my bagels refer to you!)

-Kitten abortion.

Assemble dry ingredients, oatbran flour, oat flour, white flour, salt, and yeast, in a bowl. Add, slowly slowly, and mixing from the sides of the bowl, slightly more than one cup of warm water. After dough is mixed, dump into a slightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside for two or three hours.

During those two hours, mope as necessary.

Turn dough out onto floured board, and work until dough is somewhat elastic and oblong. Cut into eight hunks. Shape hunks into bagels, by poking your thumb through, and in a wringing motion, as if you're ringing out unshed tears, form the bagel with your fingers. Set each bagel on surface, cover, and leave to double in bulk.

After dough has nearly doubled, take out your biggest pot, and fill nearly all the way with water. Add salt (again, think tears) and sugar to the water (bittersweet, such is the nature of loss. Also doughy.) Put on high heat and bring to a really, really rapid boil.

Drop bagels two by two into the boiling water. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes each side, and set on dish towel or pile of paper towels to drain. As you're nearly halfway done, preheat the oven to 425. When all bagels have been boiled, allow the last batch to drain for at least five minutes, then place on waxed paper on cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

Bagels, sorrow, unfathomable loss - good with peanut butter.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dear Sandwich:

It seems like a cliche, but can I just say that I never thought it could be like this?
I didn't.
I ordered you on a whim, I admit, because I'd seen others enjoy you. And I'll admit, there'd been many, many sandwiches to pass through my life: club sandwiches, cuban sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches.
I had, in times past, even eaten margarine on graham crackers and called that a sandwich.

For a while, I'd considered sandwich toppings to be the cutting edge of sandwich consumption; that all that could be done with sandwich fillings, the meat of the sandwich, was to coordinate what kind of bread it was on, and what vegetables, sauces, and cheeses it was paired with.

Little did I know that a sandwich of nothing but meat on a soft roll could be so much.
Then I ordered you, sandwich. You, the Burnt Ends Sandwich from Blue Ribbon Barbecue in Arlington.

Just one bite and I closed my eyes and I was sitting in front of every campfire I'd ever seen. The smoke, the meat, the soft roll- it was like childhood and summertime- but I'd never had barbecue as a child.

Until I was twenty-three years old all I knew of brisket was boiled corned beef on Saint Patrick's Day. How can a sandwich make me feel nostalgia when it evokes nothing I've ever experienced before?

The cole slaw wasn't so bad, either.

Love,
Hobolawstudent.

P.S. Sorry about digesting you and everything, but you understand.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In defense of Paris Hilton.

I think I've mentioned before that I feel a certain...warmth towards Britney Spears, the more she falters in life, insofar as I feel anything at all towards her. People who express surprise and shock about her "antics," I think, aren't really thinking. What did people think would happen when a girl from a lower-middle class background in the south is taken out of school, given millions of dollars, and called a sex symbol from the age of 16 on? Without the millions of dollars, she's just like any other girl from Florida - except she's had no formal education, no friends, and no experience with normal life. Of course she's a train wreck. Millions of dollars don't stop the train wreck; they just make it more sparkly. People make disdainful faces about her now; they furrow their brows, flipping through magazines at the check out counter,

"Well, before, it was all in good fun...but now she's brought a child into it."

The kid's going to be fine. When you have millions of dollars, it doesn't matter how together your mom is, as long as she can find a way to buy you a doting nanny with a good handle on child development. And even if not, it's not as if Britney Spears minus money and fame would be any better of a parent (or less likely to be a parent) than she is now. She's just more visible, and, as I said, much more sparkly to look at.

Paris Hilton I don't find as charming. I bet she actually is nearly everything she's accused of: vapid, talentless, shallow, ignorant. I doubt she is, as some seem to think, a harbinger of the apocalypse or a destroyer of the integrity of a generation...but really, believe what you want. But allow me to pose a question: What would you rather she be? Who else could she be?

Lauren Bush? Lauren Bush, Ralph Lauren model from the age of thirteen, from the same family that produced George H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and George W. Bush...could have very easily been Paris Hilton. Instead, she's gone to college. She received a prestigious fellowship, to travel around the world and visit children in orphanages. She was recently interviewed about this travel in Marie Claire. It was a two-page interview, followed by an opportunity to purchase a T-Shirt, designed by the young Ms. Bush, to support children in orphanages in impoverished countries.

Ms. Bush is ambitious. She contemplates a career in human service. She mentions in this interview that she did not get this fellowship because of her celebrity status; she had just applied, and she got it. Oh, Ms. Bush. I believe you, precious. I believe that you believe that. Because, otherwise, you wouldn't be able to live with yourself.

Think about Lauren Bush. She will have a fabulous education, followed by a wonderful career in whatever she chooses, which will provide her with money she will not need, some of which she will donate to people who do, most of which will go to buy trinkets and stocks and ridiculous luxuries, made guilt-less by her orphan safari and other ventures. And each opportunity she gets, like the fellowship- is one that she takes away from someone else.

Her college admission. Her future internships. Her career. Every thing she does, which she is RICH ENOUGH NOT TO NEED TO DO, is going to be another opportunity lost to someone who may have achieved it through merit and hard work (I'm not saying Ms. Bush has no merit, or has never worked hard; only that when one is that privileged, and that connected, it is impossible to suss out what has come from what source).

I prefer Ms. Hilton. She will never need a job. She will never need an education. Thus, she declined to get one. Even her ridiculous television programs took nothing away from anyone. No one could star in The Simple Life, except for a vapid and useless socialite. She is the embodiment, the open and naked result of privilege and nepotism, un-shrouded in virtue or charity or stylish concerns...The only thing she has ever done that was actually, literally, destructive to society was drive drunk. And, arguably, by sparking a debate and outrage over her preferential treatment in prison, perhaps some good will come from it. If people grow outraged enough, perhaps some change will happen. Maybe public support for prisoner's rights will grow, as stories about young men dying in prison from neglected absesses and apendicitis while Paris gets a pass because she can't get her lithium.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

In which the Hobo says she prefers mental retardation to tort reform.

Actually, that's not the essence of my argument.

I don't prefer mental retardation to tort reform; I prefer mental retardation to death. Unfortunately, I'm not HoboDeathStudent, and I like to pretend sometimes that I care about issues relating to my future career. (Actually, I do. But no one wants to debate the intersection of contract law and social policy with me. So I will continue to mostly write about things I cook)

So there is a massive, massive lawsuit in the works. If you're unfamiliar with the thimoseral/autism thing, here's a summary: In the past fifteen or twenty years, autism has been being diagnosed far more often than it had been previously. This increase cannot be explained by an increase in the population, although it is theorized, that, among many possible factors, it may be related to the aging of the population. There are a great many people, and very many parents of autistic children, who believe that a mercury-containing preservative in vaccines, thimoseral, is the cause of some cases of autism.

The proposed mechanism of action is inconsistent; some people believe it is the mercury in the thimoseral which causes brain damage, which causes autism, in certain very vulnerable children. Others believe that it is the combination of vaccines now given, which overwhelm the immune system in some children, and cause an auto-immune reaction, which causes autism.

The science isn't good; and the law isn't any better. For many reasons, it would be hard to make this case out in regular court. First, unlike, say, DES, which caused a characteristic type of cancer, (clear cell adenoma)at an unusual age; there is nothing distinct about autism potentially caused by a vaccine and other cases of autism. Any potential plaintiff may have contracted autism anyway (factual causation problem, for tort students).

Plaintiffs have, however, killed their legal and scientific problems by bringing suit in "Vaccine Court", which, as far as I can tell, has lowered their burdens of proof in order to create a more streamlined process for people injured by vaccines. All settlements in vaccine court come out of a general pool; mumps vaccine makes your balls fall off, flu vaccine gives you a seizure - it all comes from the same account. That way, no one has to identify the manufacturer or distributor of their particular dose of vaccine.

I could go on legally, but I won't.

Before I go into my next argument, let me just say: I have tremendous respect for parents of autistic children and all people who work with them. If I had the balls and the strength of character, not to mention the patience and internal reserves, to be in a nurturing profession like that...I wouldn't be going up to my eyelashes in debt to be able to sit in a room with papers all day.

But basically, if you're a parent, what these parents are saying, with their lawsuit is "Fuck your kids."

Vaccines aren't fun; they're not a government plot. They're not a pharmaceutical plot. They're dangerous tools of the medical profession, yes. But they're necessary. And the reason they're necessary is because if we did not vaccinate children, we'd be back to the era of birthing four to raise three. Mumps, measles, rubella, polio. All these things didn't just hurt kids, or make their lives difficult, lonely, unpleasant, frustrating, undignified- they killed them. If thimoseral causes autism (and I have seen nothing to convince me it does), it's still worth vaccinating every child.

Autism doesn't kill you. Polio might.

So what these parents are saying is "I would prefer that my child be normal, and two children I do not know be dead." It's a fair thing to feel. If we didn't want to save kin over strangers, especially unseen strangers, we'd have run out of ourselves, long ago. It's not a fair thing, however, to enact. If vaccines become too much of a liability for companies to produce, they'll stop. And when they stop, people will start to die. Mostly children.

I've been thinking about the outcry against increased genetic testing for down syndrome. Parents of children with downs syndrome are concerned that if people find out that they're having a child with downs syndrome, they will abort it. They feel that if these parents knew what living with a child with downs is like, they'd keep the baby. People are concerned about the ethics of ending a pregnancy, to spare a family from having a mentally disabled child, or to spare a child from having to live with a mental disability - when we have a whole lobby of people who openly prefer the painful deaths of other children, to the possibility that their child may not be perfect.

By the way, kids: The vaccine court is a form of tort reform. A limited pool of compensation. Specific rules for specific injuries. Streamlined process. Tort reform ain't the answer.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

2L, baby!

Man, it's been a...couple of weeks.

Finals ended on a note of triumph for me. I strode out of my constitutional law final with the smugness of a pimp with a solid gold dick. I had the greasy self-satisfaction that can only come from knowing you've passed a class without listening to a full sentence the professor said for at least four months. Solitaire was as close as I came to paying attention; unlike when I was checking my email, blogging, or reading...when I was playing solitaire I wasn't actively trying to block the fucker out.

I'm not (well, normally I am) one of those annoying folks who roll out of bed and into the first and last classes of the semester and, chuckling softly, complete the final with twenty minutes to spare, pausing only to inquire what the actual name of the course and professor are. I dedicated serious time and energy to this awesome feat of not-failure.

I knew I would be ignoring this professor. Whatever shreds of self-regard I still clung to as a 1L were just barely sufficient to keep me from listening to his half-sermonizing, half-self-consciously ironic tone. That, and refrain from eating out of the garbage.

Other than that, the exams were not terribly memorable.

And here I am, starting the first term of my 2L year. I'm taking Corporations, Basic Income Taxation, Intellectual Property, and Evidence. I'd dearly love to pay off my student loans, and thus, am taking anything that I can imagine that might lead down that road. I've even developed a charming justification, with the obligitory thin veneer of moral superiority, for my coming legal prostitution:

You see, despite my passion for subjects in the public interest (affordable housing, reproductive rights), I could never actually work in those fields vocationally. Because, regardless of how deeply you feel about the field, if you're getting paid, you will be advocating for someone else's agenda, someone else's priorities. And I just care too darned much about my interests (affordable housing, reproductive rights) to compromise. The only ethical thing, then, for someone of my deep and abiding moral code, is to work in a field unrelated to my beliefs, with the hope of contributing in a self-directed, avocational way, as time moves on.

Morally consistent, no? And it only took me a year at the "Nation's Premier Public Interest Law School" to develop a nuanced and comprehensive justification for how quickly and thoroughly I hope to sell out after graduation.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Yes, another food post.

The Great Pizza Crust Experiment.

As you know, I have no money. As you may or may not know, I love pizza. I probably love pizza more than I love you, no matter who you are. Random blog reader, friend, accomplice, undisclosed romantic interest- unless you happen to be a certain gentleman who has quite impressive skills in the paint- I am almost certain to have a deeper and more tender regard for pizza than I shall ever have for you.

No money plus great love for pizza = debt. Sadness. Tragedy. So, as I am wont to do when faced with tragedy, I went to my parents house. They did not make any donations to the cause. Then, I made my way to the traditional homeland of pizza: Rhode Island.

And in Rhode Island, I conducted a scientific study,of similar historic import to when that french fuck discovered oxygen by killing a pigeon, in order to answer the timeless question: How the fuck am I going to make good pizza without a pizza oven?

We've all experienced it. In order to save money, people will decide "Hey, it's just sauce, cheese, and bread. I can make that." And it never works. Why? Because pizza depends on heat sources unavailable to home cooks.

Problem- Fat melts at 100 degrees. Sugar burns at 400-ish. While water boils at 212, it takes time to get there, whereas your fat and your sugar go faster. In order for pizza crust to get chewy before it burns, the oven has to be hot enough that the water in the dough boils out before the sugars and fats start to incinerate.

Further problem: If your oven isn't hot enough to cook the dough fast, your dough will rise too much as it cooks. This creates the most loathsome situation known to man: Domino's Pizza. Doughy, bready, like an irish girl's low-rent approximation of focaccia...it's not pizza. It's bread with sauce, cheese added for modesty. No good. You simply can't bake a pizza longer to compensate for your tepid-ass, suzy-homemaker oven.

The solution is obvious: Raise the heat. Pizza stones were created for this; unfortunately, they're either expensive or shitty, or both. The stone you buy at the store is likely to be a rotten heat absorber and reflector. Alton Brown says to buy a marble tile at a home supply store, but as I mentioned, I have no money. So what's a girl to do?

Strategery, folks.

Strategy One:
My first strategy, one I've perfected in my dorm, is the old fall-back: Direct conduction. While the hottest setting on the dial of your stove may be 500 degrees, the temp. inside your oven varies. Gas only burns at one temp, after all. It's just that your stove is programed to turn the flame off and on, intensify it and temper it, until some part of the stove reaches the temp. on your oven dial. The hottest part of your oven is the floor, because it's closest to the flame. And the flame heats the bottom of the oven directly, instead of by heating the air around it, so it's even hotter.

So, in order to take advantage of the hot spot, make your pizza on your thinnest cookie sheet or cookie sheet substitute. Cover that sheet in tin foil, oil, and a dusting of either cornmeal or semolina flour.

At left, you can see our crust on the sheet, pre-toppings. After the pizza is constructed, into the oven at the hottest setting it has, for 9-12 minutes. (Results to follow at end.)

However, the direct conduction method has flaws. First, it's not translatable to electric ovens, for a variety of reasons. Second, it requires that the oven be turned up as high as it goes, which can be a problem; errant bits of oil on the cookie sheet, those that aren't covered by dough, may smoke and set off your fire alarm. Third, it makes people nervous to put things directly on the floor of the oven. They think it's unnatural, unsavory, perverse.

There's a second method that doesn't require putting the pizza directly on the floor of the oven; and, I'd hoped, would allow the pizza to be cooked at a lower temp. without sacrificing texture. Unscientifically, I'll call this "the less direct conduction method"; or the "I don't have a pizza stone method".

Cast iron is a fantastic conductor, store-er reflector, and distributor of heat. It's also durable, traditional, and non-stick. Really, cast iron pans are fantastic. They just require a little more responsibility than other pans. Or a significant other who is willing to do the maintenance.

So I took the cast iron skillet and put it in the oven, middle rack, upside down at 400 degrees, for 25 minutes, while I was assembling the pizzas. Then, I placed a pizza (on an improvised, reinforced tinfoil disk), on top of the skillet. This, I hoped, would allow the pizza to take advantage of the fantastic heat-transferring properties of cast iron, without resorting to deep-dish. In the purposes of science, I have to disclose that I made this pizza sauceless, because I was scared that if there was sauce that dripped, and the skillet was too hot to take out of the oven (and it was, for hours after), then we may have rust.

The third method was cast iron, not preheated. I took a little cast iron pan (a tortilla warmer- ten dollars at your local ethnic grocery), and tossed that onto the top rack. Let's call this the control group.

How'd they come out? Well, all three were edible. And all three were special in their own way, although they shared a common flaw: lack of cheese browning. As we all know, the ideal pizza has stretchy, gooey cheese, topped with an almost imperceptible layer of stiffer, crisper cheese. (This allows the pizza to be cut, without the cheese sliding off). All three of my methods focused on getting the crust cooked, not the cheese- so after the crust was done, I slid each pizza under the broiler for a few seconds.

Our tortilla-warmer pizza was beautiful, and only took a few minutes longer to cook than the other two pizzas. The crust was golden, the toppings were perfectly done, and it really did look like a delivery pizza. Check out the browning on the crust; the bottom was golden, and not a bit burnt.

However, this pizza was, when cut, very doughy. Because the cast iron wasn't pre-heated, the dough got a lot of time to rise before coming up to temp. For illustrative purposes, check out this picture of an earlier, pepperoni pizza, made with that method. Take a close look at how thick the crust, how midwestern the profile. It was edible, tasty, even. Better than gourmet frozen, better than Pizza Hut; but not better than your finer House-Of-Pizzas.

Our other cast-iron pizza had a less pleasant appearance. This may be because it was the only pizza not to spend any time below the cast iron pan, so the crust didn't get as nice and brown from reflected heat. However, the crust was chewy, flexible, foldable. The cheese was nicely melty, and the short cooking time and moderate heat left vegetable toppings cooked, but not mushy. The ideal, I think, would be to bake a pizza both on top of, and immediately below, pre-heated cast iron pans- that way, the crust is golden brown and crisp on top, tender and chewy on the bottom.

This pizza crust did not have the traditional Dominos/Pizza Hut/Boboli thickness. It was thin enough that, if the pan had been large enough, one could pass it off as delivery.

Finally, we come to the old favorite, my standby direct conduction pie. This pie was tasty. The crust was a little too thin in places- it was hard to keep the toppings on; however, that may have been due more to the large size of the pizza than the method of cooking. It was delicious otherwise, with fine browning, and the cookie sheet made it easy to take out of the oven and put under the broiler to crisp the cheese.

This method works better with fatty, lightweight toppings, than with high-water, high-weight vegetable toppings. While it was difficult to keep hold of our peppers, onions, and mushrooms, an earlier pizza made using this method was able to handle garlic sausages, fresh mozz, and pepperoni quite nicely, as seen at right.

Conclusion: If you want a big pizza, and you have a gas oven- just fearlessly, boldly, bravely, put it on the floor of your oven. Remember that pepperoni always helps, and that turning the dial as far as it goes feels so good. If you don't have a gas oven, but you do have a cast iron skillet, try that. Better yet, use two, and preheat them both. Finally, if you haven't got the foresight to preheat your skillet, but somehow have come into possession of pizza dough, cold cast iron works almost as well, as long as you're willing to accept a little more dough in your life.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"Barry"

Ok.

There's something you need to know about me. This is the kind of thing, that if you were totally in love with me, and I died suddenly, in an elaborate bus accident, or of some shadowy yet well-publicized female cancer, you would remember in a slow-motion montage accompanied by tedious acoustic pseudo-rock. Whereas, if you were half-interested in me, and then we broke up, you would use it as evidence that I was not charming insane, but actually beyond the limit of being salvageable for occasional hook-ups.

I name my meatloaf recipes.

Men's names. "Andy" is stuffed with mashed potatoes and has the classic diner-style ketchup sauce. This one is "Barry". Barry is...deceptively simple, delivering complex, yet starkly middle-American flavors, reminiscent of a small-town deli. Without further ado,

"Barry"

2 lb ground beef.
1 egg
1/4 cup brown mustard
2/3 cup crushed sour cream and onion potato chips
4-5 slices swiss cheese
garlic.
salt.
pepper.

In a large bowl, beat egg. Add mustard, meat, and potato chips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add garlic.

On a large, foil covered cookie sheet, form 2/3 of meat mixture into a loaf. Make a "well" in the center. Cut or roll cheese to fit into well. Add the rest of meat mixture as a "roof". Bake at 375 for one hour. Tasty, no?

Thus, "Barry".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I love Delonte West.

I fucking love him.

He is insane. And I love him.

Watch this. Immediately. I don't care if you don't like basketball. I don't care if you don't have time. You need to watch this. You need to see what he has to say about theology.

"Jesus, he knew about the beach...because it's hot in isreal...you think it's a robe..but it's a toga"

and about his aspirations for the future. Naked. With tube socks.

And about everything. You cannot understand me if you do not embrace Delonte. I love him. I will stalk him. And I will teach him that you don't need to take the Mass Pike to Boston from Waltham. I will make him a bouquet out of carrots and sweat socks.

We will run away together.



And now this. Damn you.

Love him immediately. No! Don't love him! All for me.



I'm so lonely.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This post is about my breasts. Plan accordingly.

My back hurts.

My back hurts a lot.

I didn't notice for a couple of days, because my leg hurt, too.

I blame Isaac Hayes for the leg. Long story. Basically, pasty, out of shape white girl + soundtrack to Shaft + gym = over exertion. I am not a sex machine with all the chicks, and I just have to accept that. I'm in search of a movie soundtrack more attuned to my fitness level. I'm deliberating between "The Graduate" and "The Little Mermaid."

It's hard to get pumped enough to hurt yourself listening to "The Sounds of Silence." Then again, "Mrs. Robinson" is pretty kicky. On the other hand, "Under The Sea" could be dangerous. My complete lack of co-ordination, yet incomplete immunity to rhythm makes me a danger to myself.

But my back hurts a lot. I couldn't figure it out. Every day this week, at about six pm, my back starts hurting. Like crazy. Like...back when my bra didn't fit. Or that time I was talked into going braless for three days.

Then I realized: My bras don't fit.

My bras don't fit because I've lost thirty pounds in three months. Nothing fits. However, due to poverty and not really caring, I've been ignoring everything that isn't actively falling off. Bras, if you've worn or interacted with one lately, do not fall off. They just scooch down, like lazy teamsters. And when they slouch, perhaps thinking about increased disability benefits, or extortive bargaining tactics, they don't do their work.

The tit-wranglers have been on vacation, and I never noticed. And my back has been paying the price. Of course, I still have no money. And I'm not going to spend my vital burger money taking the train to buy a bra that'll just betray me in 20 more pounds.

Listen...to the sounds...of silence.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Recipe: "Tell me all your goddamned hopes and dreams" Risotto

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 c. arborio rice.
1 carton chicken or other stock
1 cup juicy red wine
1 box frozen petite peas, or 2 cups fresh spring peas (cooked and set aside).
1 container sliced baby bella or crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, grated
Olive Oil
Patience

Pour the chicken stock into a small saucepan on low. Do not allow it to boil. Move on.

On the bottom of a heavy saucepan, set over medium heat, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil. Dump in the mushrooms. Do not salt. Do you notice how there's no salt in the recipe? The salt is in the stock. No where else. Don't fucking salt anything. Anyway, stir the mushrooms around for about three minutes, until they get resilient in texture and give up their juices to the pan.

Remove mushrooms from the pan, reserving as much of the mushroom liquid as possible. Add about another teaspoon of olive oil to the bottom of the pan, and dump in the rice. Stir the rice around for about two minutes.

Pour in the red wine and stir until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Settle in. Maybe get someone to put on some music, maybe romantic-y type music. Al Green. Put on some Al Green. Love and Happiness...

Now you're going to want to keep pouring stock slowly into the rice. Add a half cup, stir for about...oh, three minutes, maybe five, until each stir reveals the bottom of the pan. Then add another half cup. You've got four cups of stock, so you'll want the stirring to take about a half an hour, total. After there's no more stock, combine risotto, peas, mushrooms, and cheese, and put in a casserole in a 200 degree oven to rest for ten minutes. Have a glass of wine. LOVE AND HAPP-Y-NESS...then serve. Delicious.

Here's a picture. The rice is actually, in person, a really pretty lilac-purple color, not brown. The lighting was not the best.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I am a crackpot.

My letter to the editor of a well-respected, left-leaning, newspaper:

Dear (Newspaper) Magazine;
I am disgusted.
Your weekly feature, "Feature," is possibly one of the most obscene manifestations of elitist housing pornography that I've ever seen. Eastern Massachusetts has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and yet you run features on million dollar condominiums, half-million dollar fixer-uppers, and other offensive manifestations of the ludicrously inflated market that shuts so many out.
So many Massachusetts residents are quasi-homeless or paying 60% of their income for housing, dreaming of the day that prices fall so that they can have a permanent address, a cat, a single school district to in which to raise their children; this feature mocks them. It's as if, in a region experiencing famine, food shortages and inflation; you're running a weekly feature on the chic-est ways to throw food away.With the handy links provided to the listing agents, the indulgent descriptions of amenities, you're adding a coat of protective lacquer to the bubble that deserves to burst.
This feature is distasteful and irresponsible. I wonder about the Magazine's motivation in running it. To prop up the market? To inspire envy? To help the poor real estate agents? To pretend that $400,000 starter homes in Dorchester are within anyone's reach? To make the good old (Newspaper)Magazine as lofty and aspirational as the New York Times Magazine? What this feature accomplishes is to firmly establish the Globe as the paper of the "haves", "have-nots" be damned.
Sincerely, respectfully,
(Hobolawstudent)
(Wrong Side of The Tracks), Ma.

Response:


Dear (Hobo)

I got your email about your displeasure with our real estate feature in the
magazine. Respectfully, I think you are picking on one week of the feature.
The truth is that in recent weeks we have focused on inexpensive Cape
homes, $350,000 condos, and other prices. Each week it varies, sometimes
pricey, sometimes not, sometimes city, sometimes suburban. The feature is
addressing the wild fascination with real estate these days. Whether
$400,000 starter homes in Dorchester are within reach is unfortunately the
reality of today's market. If you want to live here, it's costly. I feel
like you are more angry at the real estate market's realities than at this
feature perhaps, which is something all of us can relate to. This feature
is merely stating the facts as they are.

I appreciate you writing us, though.
Best
(Some Guy), editor, (Newspaper) magazine

Monday, March 12, 2007

My trip to Wholefoods.

I went to Wholefoods on Sunday night. I generally don't; my brand of socially conscious grocery is usually Trader Joe's, but Whole Foods is just a little bit closer to my apartment. It wasn't so bad; I was expecting to be charged 26.50 at the door, and checked for toxins on my way into the produce section. Really, the admission was reasonable and no one looked like they were even thinking about telling me about optimal colonic maintenance.

All I needed was one tomato, a bag of greens, and something premade-y for dinner. Frozen raspberries were on sale at a shockingly reasonable price, so I picked up some of them, too. I got a nice quesadilla, because it was the only item I could find with nutrition facts on it, and navigated my way through aisles of cruelty-free cheeses and fair-trade dish detergent to the registers. I admit, I gaped a little, drooled, let my jaw drop and stared at some wonders (goat milk ice cream!) like the suburbilly I am, but all in all, it was just a market.

Then I got in line.

The lines were long. I don't know if Whole Foods doesn't believe in express lanes; but this store certainly didn't. The registers were placed so close to the aisles that the lines bent around displays and doubled back on themselves like crazy vines. Organic, hand-picked, sun-dried, single-origin vines.

The guy behind me, dressed in the hempy, non-weather resistant livery of a vegan bike messenger, had only one item. I had four.

The woman at the front of the line was arguing with the patient, unfortunate, unenvied cashier over the ethics of pricing some vegetables per each, while others were priced per pound. The price difference between one avocado and one pound of avocado could not have been more than thirty five cents; the woman carried a two thousand dollar purse. She was enjoying herself. The cashier, less so.

Eventually, as Ms. Hermes-Guacamole was completing her transaction, I asked the guy behind me if he'd like to go in front of me.

We chatted. It was pleasant. I am charming.

Then, after a moment, he said "I hope that whoever bought you that ring knows that the diamond trade fuel civil war in Africa.*"

"Not this diamond, guy."

"Well, even with antiques..."

"No, guy- this ring is plastic."

I stood awkwardly for a moment, paid, and left. I was crossing the train tracks when I realized: That was flirting. That was how flirting goes in a world of organic salt and deodorant stones. Just as the proud peacock spreads his ludicrous tail, and the mighty gorilla scratches his tiny balls, so does the vegan bike messenger display his heightened sensitivity to the horrors of globalization to the unsuspecting law student.


*P.S. To all those hoping to impress girls holding organic produce, please be advised: Once Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in a movie about your pet cause, it becomes less impressive. Once one of Dick Wolf's ubiquitous teledramas does 42 minutes on it, it becomes a liability.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hey! Somebody searched for prairie dog

infanticide!

Somebody from Beloit College. Listen...if you happen to read this, and you're actually looking for information on prairie dog infanticide...email me! I've got a ton of information and it's a fascinating subject. I could at least reccommend some books and studies.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Three notes, unexplained.

Just three things that are on my mind today, without much explanation:

1. Maybe we should bring back courts of equity.
2. Caffiene addiction, which strikes only after one has constant access to free coffee, is a cosmic bitch.
3. Quilted toilet paper: Placebo or innovation?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A public service.

I've recently started tracking my site statistics. It lets me see what people want, what they searched for to get here, and how long they stay. It's become fairly obvious that my blog isn't what they were expecting.

I hate to leave my pseudo- or proto-readers hanging.

So, let's make a FAQ, shall we?

Q. How can I make granola?
A. Many fine recipes are available online. Here
is one for granola bars from Alton Brown. I haven't tried it, but I trust that it's very good. "Good Eats" has never done me wrong. Here's his recipe for granola. Most people who come to my blog are looking for a granola recipe. I honestly will try to come up with one. But these'll do for now.

Q. Where can I buy marshmallow fluff?
A. At the grocery store. If you're asking because you're outside of the U.S, or far from New England, where it's made... here is a handy "Fluff Finder", where you can find a fluff-selling store near you. Remember, Fluff never needs to be refridgerated, and is a MUST if you're making titty cake.

Q. Chinese Nipples?
A. Two, Mostly. Nipple color and areaola size varies from woman to woman, not nation to nation. During pregnancy, nearly all women's areaolae enlarge and darken. Men's nipples vary along the same lines as womens. The function of the male nipple is as yet unknown to science. Sometimes, men who have been extremely obese experience stretching of the areaolae, which after weight loss may be corrected surgically. Again, this varies person to person. There is no one "Chinese" nipple, as there is no archetypal "American" nipple. I hope that answers your question.

Q. Is jackassery a word?
A. A word? Well, what is a word? It is a collection of phonemes that conveys a specific, if abstract, meaning. So in that sense, it is a word. Is it recognized by the OED? No. Black's legal dictionary? No. Webster's? No. Can you use it in a serious academic paper? I would. But then again, I just did scientific nipple research.

Q. Has Annabel Gish made any movies recently?
A. Annabel Gish hasn't done anything. She's a misspelling. Thus, she cannot act in movies. Annabeth Gish has been mostly occupied with "Brotherhood", a series that imagines that the mafia in Providence is Irish, and that Federal Hill is now, and always has been, a thriving Irish-American neighborhood. Not so. Italian, italian, italian. Recently, Guatemalan, Guatemalan, Guatemalan. Trust me. I'm there right now.

Q. Circumcision and precome?
A. Circumcision should have no effect on output of pre-ejaculatory fluid, as that fluid is produced by the Cowper's glands, which are internal. They are nestled right next to the prostate, and produce fluid in response to sexual excitement. That amount may vary from indiivudal to individual, and may be affected by level of hydration, and medications like anti-histamines.

Q. Green Bar Olneyville.
A. Over by the kickball field. Never been, but drove by it today. Looks shady.

Thanks for searching, folks. And if you're frustrated by irrelevant results, let me offer you one piece of advice: PUT QUOTATION MARKS IN YOUR SEARCHES. That way, google will return the whole phrase.

First chinese nipples, now literary scrotums.

"Ms. Nilsson, reached at Sunnyside Elementary School in Durango, Colo., said she had heard from dozens of librarians who agreed with her stance. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship,” she said. “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature.”

From a New York Times article describing the furor over a children's book with the word "scrotum" in it.

The book, a Newbery Medal winner, contains an incident where the book's protagonist hears someone say that a rattlesnake bit his dog on the scrotum. In a wave of save-the-children zealotry, libraries and schools have banned the book, in order to prevent this conversation:

"What does 'scrotum' mean?"
"It's a part of the male body."
"Oh. Ok."

Again, the media has exposed one of the leading causes of death in children 4-14
1. Lack of proper enrichment activities
2. Accidentally hearing about or seeing genitalia or breasts.
3. Pedophiles


(Attn: It has come to my attention that the actual leading causes of death of children ages 4-14 are car accidents, accidents in the home, and cancer. Please alert the New York Times)

Guys sure do make passes at girls who wear glasses...

and get advanced degrees, cheerily chirps the Boston Globe Magazine today.

Educated women are getting married more, staying married longer, and having better sex.

Apparently, even if you're black or have a Ph.D, you can still hope for a chance at wedded bliss. (What IS wedded bliss- someone else to do the breakfast dishes? The toothsome joys of letting oneself go? The tender security that comes from knowing that if you fart during a candlelit dinner, someone is still obligated to fiddle with your genitals later?)

Thanks, Boston Globe, for de-bunking the myth of the "bitter, sexually unsatisfied college graduate."

Questions the article did not adress:
1. If college-educated women are outpacing high-school educated women in the marriage market, what does this mean for high school educated women? What does it mean for children and families that women with lower earning potential are less likely to be in secure, income-sharing relationships than women with higher independant earning potential?

2. If college educated women, and women with graduate degrees are getting married at far higher rates, and women are getting more college degrees than men, what does this mean when the higher-earning-potential partner in a relationship is the one more likely to interrupt career for pregnancy and childbearing?

3. If I have a bachelor's degree, an associates degree, and eventually a J.D., will my sex life become eventually so satisfying that my life will dissolve into a miasma of lust and reading? If so, when can I expect this? I assume I've got to buy better underpants before that happens.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's National Freedom to Marry Week.

I know that a lot of people think that "equal marriage" or "freedom to marry" are just euphemisms for gay marriage. As I've studied more, and read more- that seems to be untrue. While it is true that the politics of marriage, and the fundamental nature of marriage, are being brought up in the context of same-sex marriage, the context and the import of the movement go far beyond gay rights.

Marriage has been changing for hundreds of years. It's become much less a machine for societal replication and stability of inheritance, and become much more a reflection of the importance we place on intimate human connection. Children born inside of marriage have the same inheritance rights as those born outside of it, thus nullifying its importance in inheritance. A man can no longer rape his wife, thus making the criteria for lawful intercourse both inside and outside of marriage the same: consent. These changes, made over hundreds of years, have transformed what was once a codification of male soveriegnty over a household into what it is today: a voluntary instutution based on consent and whatever the partners bring to it, from poor impulse control, to a deep and abiding regard for each other.

There is simply no longer any reason to deny any two people, who are not legally married to anybody else, who are old enough to decide for themselves, who are ridiculously optimistic enough to believe in the thing, access to the institution of marriage. When anyone can marry, marriage will finally reflect the romantic ideal that we pretend it does, instead of the archaic history that we're loathe to acknowledge.

I'd write this longer and thinkier, but, hey, I'm tired and hopped up on sudafed and I'm supposed to be reading for Contracts.

I have been asked-

Why all the peanut butter?

To which I answer: Read the archive.

One doesn't have to be drunk to make outrageous claims.

Unfortunately, due to the lateness of evaluations coming out, there are only about 15 more weekdays in the month of february. Which is lucky, because I can't afford that much jelly.

To review:
Two months ago, I made a promise. That promise: To eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, every weekday, in the month of february, if I got an outstanding on any evaluation.
I got that outstanding, in property.

To review from the review:
The law school I go to is one of three that doesn't give grades; instead, it gives narrative evaluations. It's not Yale, kids. However, in order to make narrative evaluations 'mean something', all evaluations contain a 'buzzword'. Outstanding is the best.

To review from the review of the review:
I am a law student. I go to school and I like zombies.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Without my security blanket...

It's odd how being a law student changes your relationship with free time, with normal boundaries, with ... everything.

Example: Yesterday I got sick. Real sick. Bathroom sick. (Some kind of multi-stage devil flu- first it was a chest cold, then a stomach virus, and now it's rattling my bones and pulling at my muscles. Grossness.) My apartment was ten trafficky miles away. So I went to my parents' house. I can't convey how nice it is, as an adult, to have an excuse to have someone take care of you, instead of taking care of myself. However, I was whipped into a frenzy when I realized that I was pretty much stuck there, overnight, without my laptop, my books...anything.

A human being would have focused on not having a toothbrush, or clothes, or the fact that they were horking up their insides- but a law student thinks "Shit! No laptop! How the fuck am I going to study?"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Grrr...I'm a jackass.

There is a principle in social psychology that people, whenever possible, will ascribe negative things that happen to them to external motivations; negative things that involve other people internal motivations; positive things that happen to them internal motivations; positive things that involve other people external motivations. It's called the "attribution theory"

For example:
Suzy and Johnny take a test.
Suzy gets a 55%, failing.
Johnny gets a 98%, passing.

If you ask Suzy why she failed the test, it's likely she'll say that the test was hard, or that the professor's instructions weren't clear enough. If you ask her why Johnny passed the test, she'll say he was lucky. If you asked Johnny why he passed the test, he'd say it was because he was smart, or because he studied very hard. If you ask Johnny why Suzy failed the test, he'll say it was because she was unprepared, or because she wasn't very smart.

There's also something called a locus of control scale, a personality test that is designed to find out whether a person, in general, believes that they do things because of internal motivations, or in reaction to the outside world.

If someone has a very, very internal locus of control, they have a belief that everything that happens, happens in some way because of something they did or something about them. It can be a symptom of a couple really festive personality disorders. They believe that the mail is late because the mailman is mad at them; the countergirl at the coffee shop smiled because she's in love with them; it rained because they wore new boots to work. If someone has a really, really, external locus of control, it's a sign of a couple other fun diagnoses. They believe that their girlfriend dumped them because she's a lesbian; their boss fired them because he's a racist; they failed the class because the professor is an idiot. They believe that nothing that happens to them is within their control.

Most normal people are in the middle of the two.

Today, I was Mrs. Sociopathic External Locus of control. I wonder if this means I'm going crazy; or that, because I noticed it, that I'm completely sane. At this moment I know that I didn't talk in class because I didn't raise my hand; that I didn't get my point across because I wasn't forceful enough. I was also Mrs. Baseline Attribution theory. It's not people's gender or previous education that makes them more assertive than I am; it's that they speak the fuck up- and I don't.

And I feel like a douchebag because of it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ten miles.

My school is only about ten miles away from the house where I grew up.

It feels like a thousand. Saturday night was my little sister's birthday. She turned twenty-three. This week she moved in with my old roommate, my childhood and most constant friend. They've become close since I started law school.

If I were egotistical, I'd say...somehow, I think they're using each other to fill the vast void I've left...and so on. But as I said, only ten miles away. Also, I don't think that I left any void in anybody. But really, my sister and my roommate love the same music, the same bars, the same beers, and the same mammals. They both love Domino's pizza, Clairol hair dye, and posters of teddy bears. My friend and I were always unlikely friends. Other than some difficult to notice characteristics (heartlessness, irritable bowel, suspicion of ethnic cuisine), we didn't have much in common. We are unrelated sisters, almost.

So I went out tonight with my sister, my sister's crush, my friend, and for a few moments, my brother. We went to a bar to see a local band. It was like a high school reunion. Awkward, loud, and forgetable.

I don't belong there anymore. I don't know what it is; maybe I never did. I like to talk in bars. I don't like drinking and not talking, and I'm a lousy dancer. I showed up wearing a light blue button down shirt, a black sweater, and jeans; I looked like a chaperone. I didn't drink, because I'm neurotic about bar eligibility, and I had to drive. My sister had the time of her life, drinking vodka and cran, wearing three shades of eyeshadow and three different types of petroleum based fabric. My friend was also quite pleased by the whole event.

I feel isolated all the time. I'm not quite into my identity as a law student (this blog notwithstanding). I was much more a barista than I ever was a student; I had an apron to wear, and I had friends to drink with; I threw parties. I'm not good at self-identifying through what I'm studying. It was hard for me, at Bennington, because people almost never talked about their majors; they always talked about their work.

"I'm a painter."
"I'm an actor."
"I write poetry."

Ummm...really? I was a lousy student, and a lousier whatever I was meant to identify as. So now that I'm not a barista, and I'm not a college student, and I'm not with my friends, and I'm not with my family- I'm not really anything to anybody. I don't belong in the bars my sister goes to. It's too loud. I don't have fun. I don't like the bands. I don't dance. I'm quickly becoming such a pompous, self-important jackass that I risk alienating my coffee friends.

I lack context. It's becoming quite dire.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Struggling with choice.

Everyone who is pro-choice will have a moment that challenges that belief. No matter how hard-line, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, there will be a moment when the temptation is to limit choice. It could be multiple abortions, or late-term abortions, or parental notification, or drug use during pregnancy; an issue that forces people to confront their own emotional reactions and assumptions about choice.

Failure to fully confront their own reactions is what leads some people to become pro-choice-but. "I'm pro-choice, but I don't think that women should get lots of abortions." "I'm pro-choice, but I don't think that women should have abortions for just any reason." "I'm pro-choice, but I believe that women should get their parents/partners permission." "I'm pro-choice, but I think that women should be prosecuted for drinking/smoking/using drugs during pregnancy."

I found mine.

I'm not at all comfortable with fertility treatments being used to allow women over 65 to become pregnant. I don't think it's a good decision. I think it's a waste of money. I think that it's not fair. BUT. I refuse to become "pro-choice-but". I won't do it.

Becoming pregnant, even at 67, is choice. And I do not, and refuse to allow myself, to support any kind of restriction on who can become pregnant, and by what means. I may be uncomfortable with it, but I don't think I'll ever be uncomfortable enough with anything to believe that my discomfort is worth someone else's choice.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mice! Mice! Oh no!

So many mice. Loud mice. Under the sink.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My con law prof. has less emotional maturity than a 12 year old.

I can give a presentation on the importance of safe sex to twenty pubescent little monsters, without myself blushing, or allowing anyone to get uncomfortable or embarassed...

But I can't allude to the differences between men and women to my constitutional law professor without him turning it into a punchline, and me into a joke. I want to set a small series of fires. Fuck him.

Here's the email I just sent him:

Just to convey that my comment had some context, rather than the late-afternoon comic relief that it became-
What I intended to say was that, if the different bathrooms, and escort service for women, were founded in actual differences between men and women (different genital structures requiring different facilities, and differing rates of violence targeting women) then they would not be unconstitutional, whereas if the different bathrooms and escort services for women were founded in ideas reflecting irrational and unfounded beliefs about the difference between men and women (say, that women require great privacy, and greater supervision) then they would be unconstitutional...

Sorry that you found my word choice so distracting.
(Hobolawstudent's Real Name)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Woman charged with attempted abortion.

Not in Nicaragua.

In Massachusetts.

What a fantastic way to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In an alleged era of choice, in my home state, a woman chose a dangerous, back-alley psuedo-medical abortion, instead of getting help from a doctor. Was she turned away for being too far along? Did she not know where to go, or how to find out? Why did she wait so long?

And what about the prosecutor? We're learning, in my crim law class, about how laws that exist with such a potential for abuse are often pushed through with legislative murmurings about prosecutorial discretion and wise juries...

And yet a woman is being prosecuted on the basis of a pre-civil war law, and is listed in a section of the MGL dealing with "Crimes against Chastity, Morality, Decency, and Good Order." This is also the section where you find that fornication may be punished by a fine of thirty dollars and three months in jail.

Here's the text of the law:

§ 19. Unlawful Attempt, etc., to Procure Miscarriage.

Whoever, with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman, unlawfully administers to her, or advises or prescribes for her, or causes any poison, drug, medicine or other noxious thing to be taken by her or, with the like intent, unlawfully uses any instrument or other means whatever, or, with like intent, aids or assists therein, shall, if she dies in consequence thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five nor more than twenty years; and, if she does not die in consequence thereof, by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than seven years and by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars.

ALM GL ch. 272, § 19



Prosecutorial discretion can eat me. This law wasn't even intended to be used against women when it was written, in 1845. All the annotations suggest that a woman cannot even be charged as an accessory to this crime.

This is a prosecutor abusing his/her discretion.

And I have two guesses why:
1. Perhaps the prosecutor was feeling especially zealous, and yet couldn't charge the woman with manslaughter or homicide, because at the time of the act (when Ms. Abreu ingested the misoprostol), the fetus was not a person. The fetus only legally became a person when Ms. Abreu gave birth to it.
2. Perhaps there may have been a way to charge Ms. Abreu with some crime against the infant who died, but the causal relationship between the misoprostol, the premature birth, and the death of the infant were insufficient. Perhaps Ms. Abreu's pregnancy was already at risk; perhaps the infant's death was caused by something unrelated to its prematurity.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: Prosecutorial discretion can eat me.

I am disgusted, and as a potential-someday-lawyer- fucking balls-ass-ashamed. I hope that it's my incompetence at legal research that makes me think that the state is using (abusing) this irrelevant statute to prosecute this woman...

And it's not. It can't be. Because I've got six months of law school under my belt, and that's certainly sufficient to find a statute.

I keep re-checking the article to make sure it's really happening in Massachusetts. It is.

I'm hoping that the article is wrong on the charges...I mean, there's already one error. (Misoprostol is often USED, not misused, to begin uterine contractions. It's the second phase of a legal, medical abortion)

I feel the need to add something...

something about feelings. (Guy, you have permission to skip over this post. In fact, as this post will advocate giving government services to an individual, you're encouraged to skip this post, so we can continue going out.)

I can't gloss over that in the entry above, there wasn't just an attempted abortion; a child was born and died. I feel that I can't really be as honest with myself as I'd like to be if I didn't talk about that for a bit. Being pro-choice isn't being pro-death; it's sad, tragic, even that a baby endured four days of suffering, and finally died.

I even sympathize a little bit with people who want to find someone responsible, and just...DO something. I can understand that it's possible that at the root of this prosecution is not anti-roe sentiment, but some idea that the preventable death of a child should not be ignored.

However, prosecution is not the way to mark this death. A woman doesn't just choose, after 24 weeks of pregnancy (which is a lot, maybe- I'm not up on teh gravidity-ology), to attempt to abort, on her own, without medical advise. There must be desperation. And it's that desperation that caused the death here. The woman (I keep wanting to say the girl- She's 18) must have been terrified of something; of childbirth, of someone discovering she was pregnant (likely- with the name and the city, I bet she's Catholic, and possibly first-generation American). She probably had no pre-natal care, didn't know if she could get an abortion before it was too late. If there had been any service, any intervention, anything available to her, this would not have happened. She must have felt, every day of that pregnancy, that her world was about to end.

I would have.

Prosecuting her serves no purpose, but to satisify those who feel that "something should be done." Something should be done. And that something should ensure that all women of reproductive age, in this country, have knowledge about and access to abortion, contraception, and pre-natal care.

(See, guy, and I didn't even say "free" or "affordable", even though I believe "free" or at least "affordable." Out of deference to your political viewpoint, such as it is.)