Thursday, May 21, 2009


While I'm glad that someone is finally writing about this most obvious fact of poor life, it's so fucking obvious I'm kinda pissed at the class privilege that comes out in this article. Groceries cost more in poorer areas of town; not having a washing machine means you have to pay to do your laundry -- if you live in an apartment building that has a washer/dryer on site, not only do you have to pay the electricity to run the machine, you also have to pay for use of the machine; transportation costs more and EVERYTHING takes longer to do. Time is money people! And most middle class people don't realize these facts of poverty.
Just read the article.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh boy! Class privilege survey!

How many privilege-steps would you have to make?

Step into Social Class (this is an updated version)
A Social Class Awareness Experience
Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka
Indiana State University
© 2007

(NOTE: it is taken for granted that you are in college or did attend, since this test was first given to college students.)


An activity designed to help the participants gain awareness of the vast range of social class that exists within themselves and others. This has been updated based on the wide range of feedback we received as this was becoming a popular experience.


A big room with space to move for all participants
Chairs to sit for discussion


Pay attention to how you feel. Angry, sad, happy, winner, loser . . .
No talking – we will talk about this a lot when it is over
Line up here and take a step forward of about 1 (one) foot or one foot length for every fact that applies to you.

For blogs, bold the following facts that apply to you:

Part I, when you were in college:

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college [She dropped out before I was born and finished via correspondence courses when I was in high school.]
Mother finished college

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. (no blood relatives, but do have in-laws) [Well, was a lawyer...step relative...]
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
[Voice, junior high]
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively [I don't know how to answer this... yes and no]
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs [I wish]
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs [I wish]
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
Family vacations involved staying at hotels [But they were few and far between]
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child [It was my art.]
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18 [I even had a cell phone a month or so before I turned 18]
You and your family lived in a single family residence [Eventually]
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child [Most of the time.]
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up [Pacific Science Center REPRESENT!]
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family [I did know, however, that there was a time when a lot of our food came from a food bank.]


What were the feelings that you had during this experience? Were you angry? -- Honestly, no. I was shocked at some things because I wondered if anyone actually got to go on multiple cruises, and own an IRA or mutual fund as a child. I suppose if I had done this with other people I'd gone to college with I might have reacted differently.

Part II, in childhood:

If your body does not bear long-term signs of malnutrition.
If you had orthodontia.
If you saw a doctor for anything other than emergencies or school-mandated shots. [Frankly, I consider not being able to walk an emergency, but chiropractic is a luxury... as is having a mother who has some clue about medicine]
If you heated your home with clean-burning fuels or had properly vented heating.
If you grew up in a house without vermin.
If you had running water.
If you had a basement or foundation under your house.
If you had an indoor toilet.
If your parents and immediate family were outside the criminal justice system.
If you yourself remained outside the criminal justice system.

If your parents had a new car.
If you never went barefoot so that you could ’save your shoes for school.’
If your parents never argued in front of you about having enough money for food to last out the month. [Aaand another step back because I only had the one parent who cried silently in her room because she was scared about not having enough money for food to last out the month.]
If you ate hunted and fished meat because it was a recreational activity rather than as the major way to stock a freezer.
If your laundry was done at home in a washer rather than in a lavandaria. (Laundromat.)
If your hair was cut by a professional barber or hair stylist instead of your parent.

31 privilege points! Go mom!

Daisy wonders why the test doesn't seem to care about family relationships. I have to say that I was kind of insulted that the test assumed that my parents were together in order to argue in front of me about money. Now, not all of the bolded points were true for me throughout my entire childhood, (there were fleas in one of the houses I grew up in; for most of my childhood we lived in multiple family residences and moved around a lot for various reasons), looking at this I have to recognize that I was very lucky as a child, and have been since.

The other thing is that my mom had the opportunity to be extremely resourceful. Yes, we technically went to museums because my mom made sure that we were members of the Pacific Science Center, and going there was a real treat; we were also involved in Girl Scouts (which I was told, as a kid, was also a privilege) so we were able to go on educational outings for a reasonable price with my troop (but I usually missed out on school field trips because we didn't have the money, but I only learned that that was the reason years and years later when I started being able to connect the dots), and because my mom was troop leader, I'm certain that she often organized events that were more affordable in consideration of our circumstances as well as those of other girls' whose families were in similar straits.

So, I don't know... privileged, yes. Lucky, yes. But there wasn't a second that I took it for granted. I even remember looking at the prices of things before I told my mom that I wanted it. Now, I recognize how lucky I was because I didn't really know what was going on most of the time.

Anyway, them's my thoughts... feel free to share your own.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm not sure what this means

Should I feel old, cool, or some other emotion when a line from an Offspring song is used as the subtitle of a story on the Rachel Maddow Show?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A break from random blogging for some content

I can't tell you why the only content I've been posting today are images and little snippets that only really amuse me; I can't tell you because I don't know. I'm having a slow day... and not slow as in the day isn't going by very fast... just mentally deficient and sleepy so I'm baking a loaf of bread and sitting around the house because it's been a while since I've done either of these things.
Another thing I haven't done in a while is put in my two cents about some things that I've been hearing a lot about on the televisions and internets (aside from swine flu, which the CDC has now confirmed 9 cases in Washington state with another 36 "probable" cases -- I'm still not worried, frankly and my advice remains: wash your damn hands).
So, I'll start with Justice Souter's impending retirement. President Obama has to appoint a woman to replace Souter. That's pretty much all I have to say. I've been working too hard lately to pay much attention to judicial nominations, but I'm sure that you are bright enough to have your own comments on Souter below.
Next: Asher Roth. I was over at my non-maternal twin's house last week and heard the song "I love college". Now, as far as hip-hop and rap go, I don't know Akon from Wy-Clef (although, I totally dig the studio versions of Kanye's "Heartless"), but I know a douchebag when he brags about getting a drunk 19-year-old naked (and as memory serves, when I was 19 that was no big feat... hell, it still isn't). Racialicious has an even more in-depth take on this guy than him simply being a douche: he's presenting his white upper-middle-class privilege rapper style as an alternative to blackness. There's a quote of Roth where he goes so far as to say:
“Culturally, Em[inem] was almost a black guy. My background is more stereotypically white.”
Make of that what you will (white=not poor, not picked on, privileged), but personally, I'm pretty fucking offended. I don't know what this guy thinks he's trying to say, but the majority of poeple living in poverty are white (because the majority of the population is white, dur), so when he says "stereotypically white", I really don't know what he's trying to say except that he thinks he's better than people whose backgrounds aren't "stereotypically white", whatever that means.
Finally, last week, Iowa Congressman Steve King wasted some valuable tax-payer time ranting about various kinds of -philias as a reason why Congress shouldn't pass the new Federal Hate Crimes bill (named for Matthew Shepard). Well, take a look...

Now, King wants to exempt pedophiles from being dubbed a "protected class" under new hate crimes legislation because, as we all know, pedophile is a sexual orientation. (And he can't follow the rational thought on the other side.) I also don't think it dignifies a congressman to call someone's sexual organs "plumbing" on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Feel free to throw in your two cents on any of this in the comments...

Dear World...

Dane Cook is not funny. Please stop giving him comedy specials, lead roles in movies, and any recognition whatsoever because he is not funny and hasn't been since 2001.
Thank you.

And now for something completely different

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Doggy Blogging

Stew, and his dad, are both natural skeptics (although, it's hard for a pug to be skeptical), so everything I say is met with this expression.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh no! Swine flu in Washington! Everybody PANIC!!!

Oh wait, not really. 14 suspected cases.
May I remind you that as of July 2008, the population of Washington State was 6,549,224. If we round up to 7,000,000, 1 in every half million people in the State of Washington may have been infected thusfar. That is, if those cases of swine flu really are swine flu. According to the CDCs' website on this thing, there haven't been any confirmed cases of swine flu in the state of Washington yet.
Moreover, there have been 141 confirmed cases in the country, with 1 death. That is a less than 1% mortality rate, and this thing isn't exactly spreading like wildfire. It's been going on for a week and we've had fewer than 150 confirmed cases. In a week. That's not very much, if you're at all familiar with air-borne pathogens.
Okay, so, let's do some math here.
We'll say the population of the US is holding steady at 300,000,000 (three hundred million), and we'll say that there really have been 150 cases. That means 1 person in every two million people in this country has caught the swine flu.
Now, two million is 2,000 thousands. So what do these numbers mean? I'll use some local examples.
  • Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, holds somewhere around 50,000 people. So, if you cram four people into every single seat in Safeco Field, ONE PERSON in the entire four-times-over-capacity staduim will be infected with this swine flu.
  • In the city of Seattle, (population just under 600,000) less than one third of a person would be infected.

So, yeah, as the numbers currently stand, one in every two million people in the whole country has swine flu. And, I know, with more people infected, the rate of infection will go up, of course. But let's just say that the virus capable of causing a pandemic is a teeny-tiny-teeny-little underacheiver when it only infects 141* people in 5 days. I'm pretty sure Wilt Chamberlain spread faster than that.

That's not to say you shouldn't take precautions. You should ALWAYS wash your hands with hot water and soap, and if you're immune-compromised you should do it more often. Keep the rest of your body clean, including your fingernails, and if you bite your fingernails (like my Schmoogie does) FUCKING STOP IT! It's gross, and you're going to get sick.

Take your vitamins, get enough sleep, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, eat a balanced diet, and all of those other things your mom got on your ass about when you were a kid. Moms are the CDC's infantry, you know. Also, don't lick or kiss your classmates or coworkers (especially if they are sick), and again, wash your damn hands. (Most people don't seem to realize that our hands touch everything, and that everything everywhere is covered in germs. I repeat: YOUR HANDS ARE COVERED IN GERMS.)

So, enough with the panic, alright? The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival is this weekend. Go enjoy some penis art instead of freaking out about a virus that is affecting 1 in every 2,000,000 people in this country.

*Yes, I realize I am flaunting my American privilege by with this statement. There have been 331 cases in 11 countries, according to The Who... I mean, the WHO. Now, I don't have a calculator big enough to figure out how many billions of people that is per case (bearing in mind that there are 6 billion plus people on this damn planet, and over 200 countries). So, when we look at the global outlook on this stupid thing, we find that the panic is even less founded than previously thought. Just wash your goddamn hands, okay?

Monday Friday Doggy Blogging

Glamor pug! Digital image (natch), photoshopped for the Ye Olde Pugge on a Chaire look (in the photography world, we call that sepia toning). This'll be going in my "what I did over the weekend" file. But it's just so adorable (a-DOOR-AH-bluh) I had to post it today... plus I didn't post any Stewart on Monday cause I was really busy being away from my computer.