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.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chinese Nipples threaten the world.

Thanks to Aimee for the heads up.

A woman dies of esophageal cancer, caused by contaminated water.
A documentary filmmaker catches some of her final moments.
She was filmed wearing few clothes, her frail torso outlining the ravages of disease.

PBS, concerned for the future of America's young people, blurred out her nipples.

What heroes you are, PBS. Without your concern, and your quick-thinking, American families just settling in for an evening of public television, maybe with some popcorn, cuddling under an afgan to watch a documentary about river pollution in China, would be devasted by having to have a conversation with their children about nipples.

"Mommy! What are those!" Betsey cries out. "They look like raisins. I'm scared!"
Junior starts to cry and begins to contemplate other mysteries his parents have hid from him, like refined sugar and auto-erotic asphyxiation.

But wait...everybody has nipples. Even children. I hope I'm not labeled an internet predator for saying so. So why would PBS choose to blur these ones? These nipples, so entirely divorced from an erotic or sexualized context? If there is any nipple more innocent than a nursing nipple, certainly, a dying-of-cancer nipple would qualify.

A nursing nipple at least has a loaded oedipal context, and a moderately sized group of eager fetishists- I don't think that the dying-of-cancer nipple will stir any confused Freudian longings, nor spark leering from lurking dying-of-cancer nipple-lifestyle groups.

I used to wonder why we hide the naked body so completely in this country. I suppose I still do. I couldn't figure out, until I was 15 or 16 years old, how an erection would work. I knew, somehow, that a penis did something- stiffened, went outwards somehow- but was it vertical? Horizontal? Did it change shape? I suppose, then, I am the poster child for protective blurring and censorship.

I scoured art books, medical books, biology books, national geographic, the anthropology section at the Boston Public Library...all trying to figure out what this whole erection/foreskin situation was. Instead of dulling the prurient interest, censorship sparked a prurient obsession. A research project on obscenity. I am sure that the sudden interest of adolescent boys in national Geographic has similar origins. This is not a reason to pull National Geographic from the shelf- this is a reason to put MORE breasts, MORE penises, MORE foreskins, MORE nipples...on television.

Because it doesn't matter. Curiousity about the human body will exist, regardless of whether it is hidden or shown. Eroticisation of certain parts of certain human bodies in certain contexts will exist, regardless of how many other parts have been flung around in other contexts...

Seeing a now-deceased chinese woman's nipple, which, I'm sure, looked remarkably like most nipples on most people, everywhere, will not turn anyone's angelic child into a sex pervert.

Forget about bringing sexy back...

can we at least bring lipstick back?

It seems no one under 50 wears lipstick these days, which is unfortunate. Because wearing lipstick is something that I spent years of my life looking forward to. Then I went off to college, where regular and vigorous grooming was the highest standard of beauty, and came back- BAM!

The tyranny of lipgloss had begun.

Everywhere, lipgloss. On everyone, lipgloss. I really don't understand why looking slightly drooly is considered the standard for lower-face cosmetics.Lip Vinyl. Lip Shine. Lip Sheer. In fact, if I wear lipgloss, I start to drool a little. Lip gloss comes off immediately if you eat, drink, kiss, move, bite your lip, or think about nihilism. It's inexplicable.

The message of lipstick: Look! Lips! Hotsexy!

The message of lip gloss: Help! I don't know how to eat red jello, so I just mashed my lips into it. Hotsexy?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

I drank a beer tonight.

It was a Naragansett.

I also had a hamburger.

Total cost for beer and hamburger, without tax or tip: 5.17

Guess how much the hamburger cost.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Salmon and Mashed Potatoes

Tony Allen played 48 minutes a few weeks ago, leading the injury-plagued Celtics to a very psychologically important win.

He credited his endurance to salmon, and mashed potatoes.

Last night, Tony Allen tore three ligaments in his knee. Today is his 25th birthday. All the warm wishes, hope, and love that I withhold from my boyfriend are at New England Baptist with him.

Get Well, Tony.

Monday, January 08, 2007

If you are a young man, and jewish, and roughly my age,

you may be among the few remaining American men whose mothers did not spend much time thinking about your penis. At least, you may be amoungh the few American men with plausible deniability on that topic.

You can gaze down at your wanker, and sigh contentedly, knowing that your mother never stroked her pregnant belly and gazed winsomely out the window, picturing the day that her beloved son would get his first blowjob.

You know why you don't have a foreskin. Tradition and all that.

It's not, as many young, circumsised, presbymethodist episcoversalist men will come to realize, because their mother didn't want some trembling, confused teen girl on some moonlit night in a Wendy's parking lot to hesitate before optimistically gnawing their member.

There's a rather, um, earnest account of a couple's decision to circumcise their son in Salon today. Bullying, crying, religious agnosticism; between the article and the letters following, every corner of the circumcision debate is already covered, and the article's only been up a half hour. I have my own stance on circumcision, however, as I don't plan to have children, and currently do not have a penis, it is somewhat irrelevant.

What is interesting to me is the unspoken undercurrent of the circumcision debate: How much do we own our children's future sex lives? How much did our parents own ours? A lot of time is spent, in both therapy and feminist theory, detaching women's sexuality, as adults, from the implied sexual expectations of her parents.* There is still a knee-jerk presumption that when a woman is mal-used, sexually, there has been some collateral damage to her male relatives.** The circumcision debate finally offers a chance to take a long, creepy look at parental expectations concerning male sexuality.

On the no-circ side, there are people defending the future sexual pleasure of children whose gonads are still refusing to drop. The possible loss of sensation by keratinization of the glans penis of unborn baby boys is of deep concern, not only to activists, but to their parents. If you have a foreskin, and you enjoy it, and you were born in America, be advised: It was a gift from your mother.+

On the pro-circ side, the projected sexual preferences of unborn children's presumably also unborn sexual partners are being defended. If you are a woman***, and you find yourself fellating some charming young man this long weekend, and are relieved to find a sheathless shlong, thank his mother. She was thinking of you. ++

*Possible communicated expectations: It's fine when you're married. It's fine when you're in college. It's fine as long as you don't enjoy it. It's fine as long as you're in love. It's fine as long as we don't find out.

**Don't believe me? Watch an episode of Law and Order, SVU.
Or, try this(you have to be a man): Next time you're at a party, wait until someone is obviously checking out a girl. Even better if he says something. Then say "Hey, man, that's my SISTER." Observe the effects.

***I do recognize that men do also perform fellatio. However, as men also have penises, they can contemplate how theirs got that way.

+Yes, yes, there are other reasons not to circumcise. But, really, loss of sexual sensation is a big factor. And it means that your parents thought about your sexual experience. Creepy.

++I'm sure there are other reasons to circumcise. AIDs, perhaps. But if you're giving a blowjob this weekend, the person getting it would not have been circumcised on those grounds. However, they were probably circumcised for "appearance" and "cleanliness", which all come down to "For her pleasure".

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I have a mouse in my room,

Obviously, there are other mice in the building.

As far as I know, however, there is only one mouse in my room. Right now.

I will not kill this mouse. I will not glue this mouse, or harm this mouse. I am trying not to scare this mouse. I would like, however, to relocate this mouse.

Normally, I would just make sure that all food was in tightly sealed containers, and wait for the mouse to find somewhere else to be.

Unfortunately, this mouse is an idiot.

This mouse does not know how to be a mouse. It is not sneaky. It is not skillful. It does not make good decisions. It will run from the dark kitchen, where mountainous cookie crumbs sit, unsupervised, into my well-lit room where I talk loudly on the phone and there is no sustenance.

This mouse is the me of mice. I have sympathy for it. However, as the me of mice, this mouse is profoundly annoying. Mice are foldy. They can get through cracks and small little holes. I have watched this mouse be foldy, scurrying under closed doors.

And yet, this mouse occasionally forgets that it is foldy, and spends many minutes in the middle of the night scratching at the only part of the door to my room that it cannot scooch under.

It prefers to do this when I have something to do in the morning. The more important, the longer the mouse spends scratching.

This mouse and I, we are at an impasse.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Regal Banana French Toast

For the toast:
5 slices stale bread
3 eggs
2 cups milk or half and half or eggnog
Spices that you like.
2 tbl honey

For the sauce:
2 bananas
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pint blueberries

Beat eggs until they look like almost scrambled egg color. I can't make scrambled eggs, so I beat them until somebody tells me they're beaten. Stir in milk, spices, and honey. Pour mixture into a shallow pan. Maybe a pie plate. Maybe a frying pan. If you only have one frying pan, you've made a bad decision, but soldier on. It gets worse.

Dip bread pieces in egg mixture (it's technically a custard- isn't that great?), first one side, and then the other. Pile vertically on a plate. Wait a minute. Don't worry so much about leaving raw eggs around. Wait another minute. Maybe five. If you're not too nervous, maybe longer. Maybe seven.

Dip each piece again. Yeah, again. Both sides. Dammit. If your bread isn't very thick or very good, then probably it'll start to fall apart. Maybe have pancakes instead. If it doesn't fall apart, maybe you can still have french toast.

Get some butter, and put it near the stove. Put a frying pan on your stove. If the only frying pan you have is the frying pan with egg in it, wash it, then put it on the stove. High heat for a little bit, then medium/low heat. When the pan is hot enough for pancakes, take a little bit of butter and rub the pan with it. Don't use your hands. Use a fork.

Plonk, one or two at a time, each piece of french toast in the pan. Between slices of toast, rebutter the pan. That's what makes it nice. Brown each side. As each piece of french toast comes out of the pan, stick it on a cookie sheet in the oven, which you should have preheated to 350 a while ago.

Slice the bananas into rounds. Toss with brown sugar, spices, and vanilla. Leave the blueberries alone. If you only have one frying pan, wash it again, dammit. If you have another one, scam somebody into washing the eggy one anyway. Then put it away. But if you only have one, use that one. Put it on the stove on medium heat. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in the bottom. Toss the bananas and sugar into the pan, and push them around until the sugar is goo instead of grain. Everything should smell delicious. When there are no more sugar crystals, and everything that isn't banana is goo, put the bananas into a bowl. Now mix the blueberries in.

Take the french toast out of the oven, put it on plates, and drizzle with bananas and blueberries. Top with powdered sugar. Consider expanding your empire.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Don't fear the sauce: Parmesan and Garlic Sauce (For Pasta)

2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl flour
4 oz parmesan cheese
minced roasted garlic, from that neat little jar.
3/4 c milk
Something fresh and green (basil, oregano, green onions)
Salt, Pepper

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan.
Whisk in flour.
Walk around the kitchen three times.
Slowly add milk.
Walk around the kitchen three more times.
Stir slowly, while someone else walks around the kitchen three times.
It will get real thick.
Add a half teaspoon of garlic, and all the parmesan cheese.
Wait a little bit.
Add salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta.
Call it "alfredo sauce."

Add shreds of something green on top.

(All times are estimated. Laps around the kitchen replace time spent explaining myself to the parrot. If you have a parrot, try explaining yourself to it instead. Return only when you've given up on trying to convince the parrot that he really would set himself on fire if he was allowed to hang around while you're cooking)

How to make your own granola.

1 bottle red wine
1 can, pumpkin puree.
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup sugar
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Spices
3 crunchy granola bars
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
2 sticks butter
No shame

1. Drink at least half a bottle of red wine.
2. Begin to make a pumpkin pie.
3. Realize that you have no flour.
4. Decide that you will make a graham cracker crust.
5. Realize that you have no graham crackers.
6. Decide that graham grackers and granola bars are essentially the same thing.
7. Melt 3/4 cup of butter in a microwave safe bowl.
8. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla.
9. Realize you don't have a rolling pin.
10. Or a food processer.
11. Put the granola bars into a heavy plastic bag.
12. Slam the granola bars into heavy things, like books and walls and in car doors.
13. While you're wrecking the kitchen, someone goes out to the store.
14. And brings back a premade pie crust.
15. Pour the pumpkin custard into the premade pie shell.
16. Put the granola chunks into the bowl of butter and sugar.
17. It smells good.
18. Put the granola mixture onto a cookie sheet. Decide that it will stick. Scrape it off. Put parchment paper on the cookie sheet, then put the granola on. Toss whatever happens to be around, say, the white chocolate chips, on top.
19. Bake the pie, and the granola mixture, in the oven at 320, then 450. Forget how to make custard.
20. Take out the granola. It smells good. Consider that it may be bar cookies.
21. Cut it into bars.
22. When it crumbles into unrecognizable bits, switch to hard liquor. Laugh.
23. Begin smashing at the hard mass with manual can opener, kitchen scissors, and anything stainless steel weighing less than 3 lbs.
24. Taste the crumbs.
25. Decide to try them over yogurt.

Congratulations, genius, you've just made granola out of granola bars.

Recipe for Awesome.

2 cups milk
8 oz cheddar cheese. grated
4 oz bacon, raw, diced.
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 package frozen spinach, cooked according to package directions.
Handful Panko Crumbs, or bread crumbs, or crushed potato chips.
1 big, heaping spoonful flour
3 tbl`butter
1 lb pasta
Dash beer, or vinegar, or wine, or lemon juice

Put on water for pasta, salt liberally.
Dump the spinach into a large casserole pan.
In a heavy skillet, put the diced bacon and onion. Cook together until the onion is translucent and the bacon is crisp. Dump into the pan with the spinach. By now, your water should be boiling. If it is, dump the pasta in.
In a small saucepan on low/medium heat, melt the butter.
Stir the flour into the butter. When the flour and butter are completely incorporated, and smell a little like pancakes, slowly add the milk. Wait a bit, stirring, until the milk is thickened. It should be thicker than eggnog, but thinner than pudding.
Slowly stir in most of the shredded cheese. If the sauce begins to look lumpy, add the dash of beer, vinegar, wine, or lemon juice. The sauce will smooth out quickly.
Your pasta is probably done. If it is, dump it into the casserole with the other ingredients. Toss it around a little. Don't rinse it in cold water. That's a stupid thing to do.
Your sauce is done, too. Toss the sauce with the rest of it, put the rest of the cheese on top, then add the panko crumbs, and put it under the broiler for five minutes.

Things will soon become awesome.