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Monday, June 30, 2014

What a Great Time to be a Woman in America!


Thanks to two rulings by the Supreme Court, women are now officially second-class citizens. We can be yelled and screamed at by "pro-life" protesters, and we can't work for religious businesses if we use contraception. Yee effing hah.

The first ruling came last week. On Thursday, SCOTUS ruled Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law unconstitutional. Buffer zones were created to protect women going into women's health clinics that provide abortions from "pro-life" protesters. The protesters actually convinced people who have law degrees that they want to "counsel" women entering these clinics. When did screaming "MURDERER" at the top of one's lungs become counseling?

In essence, SCOTUS stated the law violated protesters' First Amendment rights, because the buffer zone made it illegal to just stand within 35 feet of a clinic. That is, in my opinion, an extremely narrow view of the law. Women visiting these clinics may not even be there for an abortion, yet they will now be forced to view those awful signs "pro-lifers" wave around. Volunteers who escort patients in and out of the clinic have told many media sources about the horrible things "pro-life" protesters say to patients, and to them. This is not a First Amendment issue (again, in my opinion). This is a safety issue. But since women are the only ones who receive abortions, our safety doesn't matter.

The second ruling came today, Monday. Hobby Lobby, a company owned by a Baptist, a religion that has no official stance on contraception, doesn't want to pay for women's contraception. So, they sued for exemption from the contraception mandate in the ACA. And on Monday, they won. Their male employees can have all the vasectomies they want, but you ladies better not try and take the Pill. The reason a Baptist-owned company that sells cheap shit from China hates contraception? Their owner believes Plan B, ella (it's spelled like that by the company), and two types of IUDs are abortifacients.

What a great time to be a woman in America. If we go to a clinic that provides abortions, whether we're receiving one or not, "pro-life" protesters can call us names, scream at us, wave horrible posters in our faces, and there's nothing we can do about it. And if we take contraception, any company that claims "religious exemption" can refuse to not just insure us, but possibly hire us.

On an up note, the Hobby Lobby ruling opens some interesting doors for atheists. Let's say you own a company, and you really don't want to hire Christians. Oh wait. The United States is veering ever closer to full-blown theocratic rule, so that analogy wouldn't really fly. Hmm. You're a Muslim business...yeah, no. Hindu? Wiccan. Wow, this is tough. If I didn't know better, I would think these two SCOTUS rulings served no other purpose than to make it easier for right wing Christians to persecute other people, especially women.

Thirty years ago, if you had told me this country would be on the verge of theocracy and patriarchy, I would have laughed. But that was before the Tea Party, before Bush judges, before the merging of the GOP and the "Moral" majority. Before people like Rick Santorum said the separation of church and state makes him nauseous. Before Todd Akin. Before the President of the United States had to go on television to say rape is rape. Before the myth of tiny graveyards in our wombs.

The irony in all this is if conservatives keep this up, the United States will resemble many parts of the Middle East, in regards to our policies against women. I'm wearing a pair of shorts at the moment, but I would guess that in a conservative's dream world, I'd be wearing something like this.

What a lovely day for women all over America who think like Sandy Rios and Sarah Palin (although, if Bristol Palin had tried contraception...). For the rest of us, Canada is looking pretty damn good right now.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What happens when we don't feed the cat "on time"



Princess, our cat featured in the adorable photo above, is a lovely little beastie. She's affectionate, chatty, very fluffy, and thinks I am her actual mom. She follows me around, and over the past two weeks, has been my "nurse kitty," as I recover from first the flu, and now, a horrible sinus infection. Princess also has pica.

Pica, according to WebMD, a website you should never visit to investigate your own symptoms (you'll come away convinced you have Ebola, the Black Plague, skin cancer, erectile dysfunction, and shingles), is the eating of things that aren't food. Like chalk, or paint chips, or pencil lead, or lint. Some people eat their own hair. Princess eats fabric, rugs, and well, pretty much everything.

This is a very cheap area rug I bought to cover the part of the carpeting Princess was chewing. We're renting, and frankly, I'd rather spend forty bucks on a rug than thousands of dollars to replace the hallway carpet. Remember, we're talking about a twenty-pound cat, not a large dog. She destroyed this entire edge, because she wasn't fed "on time."

WAIT, there's more. When my mom died, I inherited a gorgeous, huge, did I mention gorgeous, Persian area rug. It had (note, I wrote had) fringe around the narrow edges. Princess ate it. This was a really expensive rug, and it's ruined now. We sprayed Chew No-More whatever on there, and she ate through it. We rolled the fringe underneath the rug: she pulled it out with her little paws, and ate it. And I do mean ate it. We never found fringe on the floor, she chewed it up and swallowed. And no, none of us ever peered intently at her poo to play "Spot the Fringe."

That rug is rolled up, and stored in the basement. Because Princess has pica, we can't display this really lovely memory of my mother. She also eats the bottom of the sleeper sofa. See, when we set it up, underneath the mattress are little black flaps of fabric. Princess discovered that if she pulls on those flaps with her teeth, she can extract threading. Which she eats. Pillows, towels, her own fur, dirt, Kleenex all go down the gullet.

Our vet in Vermont recommended Prozac. For the cat. That's not covered by insurance, FYI, so every month, I would have been shelling out about $200 for Kitty Prozac. And it wasn't guaranteed to work. Obviously, that didn't happen. Our vet here in Hooterville has suggested we "cut back on her food," as Princess is overweight. I looked at him and laughed.

"Okay, Doc, and you'll pay to replace all the rugs and furniture she will destroy when I do that, right?"

He didn't offer, so we didn't cut back on her food.

Look, everyone who knows me knows how much I love this cat. Having said that, this gets pretty annoying. And I'm concerned for her health. It can't be good for her to ingest all this weird shit all the time, but so far, nothing bad, health-wise, has happened. Oh, and of course, we really can't travel anywhere overnight.

Princess doesn't like cat sitters. She likes Mom and Dad and Josh, and when we get a sitter for her, her pica increases. The Humane Society where we got her told us they believed Princess was abused, and that's why she gets a pass on the pica. But it's a pain when we want to stay overnight at a friend's house after The Moody Blues' concert this summer, and knowing that if we do, Princess may just go hog wild, and eat a couch. Or we want to go see my dad and stepmom, but when we get back, my little Turkish rug may be gone.

Cat ownership is a misnomer. We don't own her, she completely owns us, and she holds us hostages with pica. Do I think she does it on purpose, to guarantee we will never leave her? I don't know; can a cat be that obviously manipulative?

Let me leave you with another photo. Same area rug, different damage. Guess who's going shopping?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Burned Out, Fed Up


Image from Desertpeace.wordpress.com

I am burned out on political blogging. I am fed up with the drama of social media. I have the flu. Our dock is perilously close to floating away due to the massive amount of rain we've had over the past week. So, what's a stubborn, exhausted, frustrated, sneezing, achy chick to do? Why, quit social media, that's what.

Yes, yours truly deleted my social media accounts. No more Facebook, no more Twitter. Twitter wasn't that big a deal; I look at Twitter as the place rage goes to play. Facebook was another matter entirely. At the time I deleted the account, I had over 1,000 Facebook "friends." Of those 1,000, I actually know about 50 or so. That's it. Who the hell were the others? Truth be told, I have no idea.

What's ironic is this piece will never be read by anyone other than folks on Google + with me. But I refuse to deal with social media drama anymore. And I refuse to write as the Token Angry Liberal™ ever again. If I want to write about politics, I will. If I want to write about gardening, or chocolate, or cats, or art, or opera (okay, maybe not opera), or whatever, I will. I won't make any money, and I will never be famous, nothing will go viral, and that's okay with me.

I don't write to be famous. Some people do; some people love the limelight. Some brag and pat themselves on the back and throw hissy fits if things aren't just so. I just like writing. I love interviewing, but given that the last few people I interviewed never shared the pieces with their own fans, I don't see myself doing that anymore, either.

It's kind of a great feeling, cutting the cord. There's no drama, no stress, my days are very peaceful. Oh, I'm sure people are angry with me, but the people who know me, the real friends and my family, don't need Facebook to stay in touch. It turns out, the majority of those 1,000 "friends" do need Facebook; only 3 people I know through social media have contacted me since I deleted my page. This bolsters my belief that I did the right thing.

Try it-deactivate your Facebook account. Instead of poking people, and clicking "like," have lunch with a friend, write someone a note and mail it, give a high school buddy a call. If I've learned anything over the past few days, it's that those Facebook "friends" probably don't think as highly of you as you might of them. And that's perfectly fine. We get lucky sometimes, and meet a Lee or a Joshua or a Manny online. But for the most part, if you have hundreds of Facebook "friends," they're not really friends.

I have no idea how I accumulated so many Facebook "friends." There were names I didn't recognize, people with whom I had never interacted, people who had never commented or posted on my page. Why would you send someone a friend request, just to ignore them? Facebook is pretty effing weird when you get right down to it. Twitter's just scary.

So, that's it. I will still write, here on Poking At Snakes. Maybe I'll throw up a Bachmann Diary, or an interview with my cat. I made a great pie last week, and am making a cake tomorrow; those recipes might go up sometime next week. I will definitely post a review of the Moody Blues' concert in August. And I will do it all without social media. Because again, I don't write to be famous. I write because it's fun.

To the 30 or so people who will read this, I appreciate you sticking around. Really.