Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Teaching in the Garden State

In Eagleswood, NJ, a 71 year old transexual has just been granted permission to teach in the school district she used to teach in as a man named William.

Lily McBeth began teaching in the district about 5 years ago, and assuming grammar schools in NJ have grades K through 6, several students who were taught by him as a man, will now be taught by her as a woman.

Freud may have said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but it is amazing what they do with cigar cutters nowadays.

No word on if Lily feels more or less troubled when washing the dishes now.
Progressive Insurance has listed the motorcyle crash rates for various regions of the country. As the owner of a new Harley, I thought I'd check it out. Here are the top five:
Cities with the Highest Motorcycle Crash Rates

1. New York, NY/NJ 171
2. Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Portsmouth, VA/NC 157
3. Baton Rouge, LA 153
4. San Diego, CA 142
5. San Francisco/Oakland, CA 140
A local paper interviewed a local Progressive agent (no link available), and he said they had no idea why this region would be so high. The reporter speculated that it was all the distracting scenery. Doesn't anybody think anymore? Memo to newspaper and insurance agents: here are four likely reasons, all within a ten mile radius of my downtown office:

  • Naval Station Norfolk
  • Navy SEALs Teams Two, Four, Six, Eight, and Ten
  • Naval Air Station Oceana
  • Langley Air Force Base
  • Sunday, February 26, 2006

    The Politization of Everything

    There is something very sad about this post. It seems that, for this young, bright, well-written woman, feminism has turned the most mundane chore into a political statement:
    This may sound ridiculous, but for me, washing or not washing my boyfriend’s dishes is an inherently political act. My boyfriend is sweet and generous enough to cook me wonderful meals at his place fairly often. He is a clean and dapper gentleman with the exception of his apartment and particularly his kitchen—I keep telling him that any foodstuffs growing green or white fur should have been thrown out weeks ago, that he might want to wash his plates before the food has been crusted on there for over two weeks, and that his living room is NOT A TRASH CAN. Now, I am resistant to doing his cleaning for him because I don’t want him to get used to me being his maid, cleaning up after him as if it were my duty as a female. (I don’t think he sees it like this at all, it’s just a strange paranoia I have…) And yet, I would like to see his apartment somewhat cleaner since I spend quality time there, and since it would be nice to do something in return for his wonderful cooking. (Said cooking really is wonderful by the way—Indian food to DIE for, and he makes it seem so easy…)
    The answer to this little dilemma is painfully clear, at least to me. The boyfriend clearly doesn't care if his dishes are washed; the girlfriend clearly does. If the girlfriend cleans the dishes, she is clearly doing it for herself, not for him as she fears. Nonetheless, barriers must be broken at all costs:
    I think I have internalized a great deal of my mother’s very strong feelings on the household division of labor—even though my dad worked 11 hour days in the office, my mother would demand that he help with at least some household chores. So I have grown up with very strong feelings that whomever I settle down with WILL do dishes and laundry, clean the house and change diapers because I certainly will not do all these things single-handedly.
    I hope this young lady finds a man that WILL do as she wishes. I hope conversely that she will not be surprised if he expects that she WILL sharpen the lawnmower blade, change a flat tire in the rain, snake out a clogged toilet, caulk the second floor windows, and trim the hedges. I only point this out because much is devoted to how much the author expects of her man and precious little to what he might expect of her. Clearly, cleaning up after his cooking is a little too much right now, given the loaded gender politics of such an act.

    My late wife wasn't interested in working in the yard or on the cars. We agreed that I would work outdoors and she indoors, and whoever finished first would help the other until we were both done. Not rocket science, that. But apparently too much for these youngsters. The good news is that with her gone, I know how she liked to keep the house. And if I had gone first, she would have been able to keep up the yard.

    Anyway, when everything is politicized, there can be no simple and equitable division of labor. Too much weight to be considered. Witness:
    Anyway, back to my boyfriend’s dishes. For me, I want to be able to define what the washing of dishes means to me and what I want it to communicate to my partner. What I want my washing of dishes to say is, “Thank you for making me such wonderful meals. In gratitude and love, I wash your dishes.” I do NOT want it to say, “I belong in the kitchen. I accept my role as a subservient female.” The trouble is that household chores are so terribly gendered that for me to engage in them feels dangerous—feels as though I’m treading gingerly on the knife edge between loving consideration and subservience.
    Whoever thought such simple tasks could be frought with such meaning? Additionally, if dishwashing is a vehicle for sending a message, the recipient is not really a "partner."

    Freud said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but apparently washing the dishes can never be "just cleaning up." This young lady is resistant to "household chores" simply because women have done them in the past, and it will somehow demean her to fulfill that "role" going forward. The knife edge she fears walking is one of her own construct; isn't the difference between consideration and subservience internal to the auther? It seems to me that a pro-choice could mean choosing to do a chore on occasion for your own reasons, but apparently abortion is the only choice feminists can make without feeling subservient.

    Still, underneath it all, some glimmer of hope shines for this young woman. On some level, it seems Laura Schlessinger of all people made some sense to her.
    I hate to admit it, but I do think that the feminist agenda may have done some damage, making some women (myself included) selfish, demanding and psychologically immobilized in heterosexual relationships for fear of fitting into the 1950’s perfect wife role and then somehow getting trapped there permanently.
    I suspect that in the future this woman will understand that in a truly equal partnership, people will do whatever their partner needs of them, regardless of the political implications or historical gender roles. Partnerships are not about making political statements to your partner, your friends, society, or even yourself. They are about helping each other through life, with the joy of trusting companionship. The rest of this nonsense is just "boyfriend-girlfriend" stuff.

    Canada hates the Port Deal (well at least one Canadian)

    Little Green Footballs highlights a fascinating article about the Dubai port deal.

    The most interesting thing is the original source is a Canadian website. I guess the rightward march continues across the border.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    We're from the Government and we're here to help

    My wife Suzy died December 30 at age 44. She started working at age 16, so she had paid into Social Security for the better part of 28 years. By my conservative estimate, she contributed in excess of $85,000 to the system.

    Upon receipt of her death certificate in late January, I called Social Security to report her passing. I was told I needed to make an appointment, and the first one available was for today, almost four weeks later.

    So this morning, I left work in the middle of the day, carrying our marriage certificate, birth certificates, and the death certificate as instructed. I signed in with the armed guard at the door, promised that I carried no weapons or sharp objects upon my person and proceeded to waiting room. Upon arrival, I was told to wait until my name was called. I sat down dutifully in a large room full of chairs lined up facing two more armed security guards with 50 or so of my closest friends, must of whom were either sneezing or coughing. Or both.

    At 11:45, fifteen minutes after my "scheduled appointment," my name was called. I went inside and sat down with my assigned government agent. There was no name tag on her desk, and she did not introduce herself. The first thing out of her mouth was that any falsehoods in my "testimony" would be punishable under penalty of perjury. Nice touch, that.

    I displayed all my certified and sealed documents to prove that we were married and when and where we were born. I promised her that we had no children or legal guardians, and that, had she survived, Suzy would indeed have wanted to return to our home with me.

    My assigned agent then printed a summary sheet and asked me to verify once again that the information I had given her was correct. It was. Upon completion of this ritual, she notified me that as a consequence of my marriage to a young lady that had paid over 85 grand into the exalted Social Security "trust fund," I was entitled to a one-time payment of the princely sum of $255, and by the way, she was sorry for my loss. "The check will arrive in 4 to 6 weeks," I was assured.

    Only the government could take that much money out of someone's pocket, then pull you out of work, put you under the watch of armed guards, threaten you with prosecution, and proceed to return a lousy 250 bucks on your wife's "investment" in their program. That isn't enough to pay for the flowers at the funeral.

    Oh, and did I mention that the office was open during the convenient Monday through Friday hours of 8:45 AM until 3:45 PM? Don't knock yourselves out too much down there at the SSA.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Via Cassandra comes this query: What was number one on the Billboard chart on the day you were born? My answer? Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin.

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    I arrived at work safely this morning, but many of my neighbors hereabouts weren't so lucky:
    Less than 1 inch of snow triggered more than 100 minor accidents Monday along a stretch of Interstate 64, prompting Virginia State Police to advise motorists to avoid the highway.

    State police called in additional troopers to respond to approximately 115 accidents, primarily along a stretch of I-64 from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, State Police Sgt. D.S. Carr said.
    Memo to my fellow Virginians: Four wheel drive may be useful in getting up to speed, but it is of absolutely no help when it comes time to stop. Slow down.

    Muslim Anger Over Cartoons Increasingly Directed at US -- 02/20/2006

    Well, here's proof that for the good old US of A, there ain't no winning. The silly Muhammed cartoons that have been the justification for all the rioting Muslims worldwide were drawn and published by Danes. Still, Death to America!
    Muslims protesting the publication in European media of cartoons depicting Mohammed have once again directed their anger at the United States despite the fact most American mainstream newspapers have not reproduced them.

    Sentiment about the allegedly blasphemous cartoons appears increasingly to be blurring into a broader anti-U.S. feeling in some parts of the world, with some angry Muslims using President Bush's scheduled tour to India and Pakistan early next month as a rallying point.
    Oh, that's swell. The Danes do something to piss off the Muslims, and the result is anti-Americans. These are the people the liberals think can be reasoned with? Still, it's "comforting" to know that the Religion of Peace hasn't given up on the Danes entirely.
    In both Pakistan and India, Muslim leaders have publicly offered large rewards to anyone who kills any of the 12 cartoonists who penned the caricatures...

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

    Via Powerline comes this lovely sentiment from our good friends in Pakistan. You know Pakistan. The only Muslim nation with nuclear weapons. Where is this in the national media? Aren't we entitled to see this stuff?

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    New Bond girl

    The newest Bond girl is Eva Green, set to star opposite the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, in Casino Royale (Official Sony Pictures Site loud music warning!).

    I must say Eva, a French actress, seems to be lacking a certain something, a certain je ne sais quois.

    Oh now, I know, usually most Bond girls are armed with boobs!

    New T-shirt

    Howie Carr, local Boston talk-show host and muckraker, is giving away T-shirts this afternoon for callers to his radio show. The shirts saying "I'd rather be hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy."

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Hugh Hewitt has a great summary of how the Cheney hunting accident has been transformed by a self-centered press corps:
    The story is no longer about the Vice President or Harry Whittington or his injuries or any kind of perspective on the incident itself. It's all about how Cheney handled the press. The story is all about them--when they knew, how they were informed, how many people knew before them, how they can correct this so they'll know more in the future.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Good Stuff

    I hadn't been over to the Blame Bush! blog in quite a while. My bad, because this stuff is good:
    In his crazed blood lust, Cheney (whose daughter is a lesbian) also wounded a fellow hunter, but never bothered to report the incident to Maureen Dowd. If the media covers the story with the rabid fervor of liberal hysteria it deserves, it has the potential to evolve into a scandal that can destroy Cheney’s 2008 White House bid, and will most suredly bode well for gun safety advocates like Al Gore and John Kerry. However, I’m going to wait for Ted Kennedy to weigh in on this whole issue before commenting any further.
    That, my friends, is fine satire. Damn fine satire.
    Update: Via Wizbang comes this priceless gem:
    Lafayette resident Josh Kayser chuckled Monday afternoon when he read about Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shooting a friend during a quail hunt over the weekend.

    A few hours later, paramedics rushed Kayser, 21, to the hospital after his girlfriend accidentally shot him while they were trailing a raccoon.

    “I read that thing about the vice president and said to myself ‘How can you shoot your friend with your gun?’ And look what happened,” he said Tuesday.
    You can't make this stuff up.

    Stolen directly from Cassandra.
    Now here's a fun web site. Viewers can enter the serial number of a bill in their wallet, and if someone else has entered it, the site tracks its route, including distance traveled and speed.
    British shopkeepers have a new tool to discourage loitering teenagers:
    Shopkeepers in central England have been trying out a new device that emits an uncomfortable high-pitched noise designed to disperse young loiterers outside their stores without bothering adults. [...]

    "The noise can normally only be heard by those between 12 and 22 and it makes the listener feel uncomfortable," she added.
    Here in Virginia, I can remember a local 7-11 employing a similar strategy, using classical music.

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    Food: The New Torture

    The United Nations has decided that feeding hunger strikers in not tantamount to torture. When we do it, it is torture.
    A United Nations' inquiry will call for the immediate closure of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the prosecution of officers and politicians "up to the highest level" who are accused of torturing detainees. [...]

    The report calls for the United States to halt all "practices amounting to torture," including the force-feeding of inmates who go on hunger strike.
    One imagines allowing them to starve to death would be decried as torture as well.

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    GM and bankruptcy

    The UAW continues to fight Delphi and GM, one company is in bankruptcy already and the other is teetering on the edge. Fortune magazine's cover story suggests that most American businesspeople don't want GM to go bankrupt.

    Well, I think most Americans shouldn't mind it.

    Once again like the airlines and Chrysler coroporation we, the taxpayers, are going to be asked to bail out a "great" American company. The company is in the situation it is in because it put itself there.

    But instead of letting GM disappear like Packard, Studebaker and who knows how many car companies before,we are going to be asked to step up and save this American Icon.

    Let them rust away, I say, and believe it or not I own a GM product, a Saab 9-3.

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Curious George

    Remember Curious George? I sure remember that sketchy little monkey. Well it seems there is a new Curious George movie. Harmless fun for the kids, right? Wrong. For the humorless left wing, where everything is political, "harmless fun" is an oxymoron. Check out this tidbit:
    (T)he "Curious George" children's books are a minefield of cultural horrors through which to tiptoe. Imperialism. Animal abuse. Bad parenting.
    They're not really going to do this are they? Are they? Why, yes. Yes. They. Are.
    "The books are really irresponsible to me. It's sickening, really," said Robin Roth, managing editor of www.arkonline.com, an animal welfare Web site. [...]

    Roth, a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, writes on her animal rights Web site that "Curious George" reveals "the sinister side of a corrupt wildlife trade with perilous roots in Western imperialism." When the mischievous George is sent to jail, "the picture of the forlorn little primate alone in his cell conjures haunting images of countless monkeys lingering in laboratories, suffering silently and alone."
    What must real life look like to you if that's your perspective on a children's book? Some leftists must lead positively miserable existences.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    It's deja vu all over again

    At the age of 46, nearly 30 years after receiving my driver's license, I find myself studying the DMV brochure in preparation for my learner's permit test. Thankfully, peer pressure has become non-existent. I am confidant of success.

  • Front brake provides 75% of stopping power
  • Ride in the center of the lane, visible in the rear view mirror
  • Slow down and rise on the footpegs before crossing an unavoidable obstacle

    Yeah, we'll be alright.

    Update: No sweat. 20 questions, 20 correct answers. I've still got it. Now I just need the bike.
  • Saturday, February 04, 2006

    Well, I went ahead and did it

    I bought a hog today. This isn't it, but it's close enough for government work. I picked out a 2003 883 Sporty, bored out to 1200 cc with Screaming Eagle headers and pipes. Custom flame grips, leather saddle bags, and a removeable wind screen complete the package.

    Delivery is scheduled for next Saturday. This will be my first motorcycle since my early twenties. I can't wait to go riding!

    Friday, February 03, 2006

    Here we go again

    Another sorry dispatch from the Religion of Peace. More from Michelle.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Best SOTU Analyses

    The American Spectator comments on the Democrats bizarre cheering in favor of their obstructionism on Social Security reform during the State of the Union address:
    But the Democrats clapped and hooted as soon as Bush said "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security," giving Bush an opening to turn his bromide into a scathing attack: When he said "partisan politics," he had a visual aid to point to.

    Suddenly it was as if Bush said "we mustn't act like clowns," and the entire Democratic caucus had shown up in multicolor wigs and greasepaint.
    That's good stuff. And Powerline, who pointed me to the TAS post linked above, added this astute observation on the effect of this sort of dissonant behavior on the electorate:
    Al Gore might well be president today if he had meet the American public's expectations for decorum. And all he did was sigh a few times. There's a lesson there, but the Democrats haven't learned it.