Category Archives: Culture

Ask a . . . . .

Today, while searching for sources for my students’ prepared speeches, I came across this site.  It’s godfather is a column I have read in the Houston Press for a while.  (There are others: French, Russian, Jew, Chinese  — all linked in the sidebar here.)

I shared and explained the Korean site to a couple of my students today.  They thought it was pretty funny.  It led to a discussion of current Korean politics.

The discussion bled over into my off time and my boss even walked by (on her way out) while we were engaged.  This is one of the top reasons I love my job.  I don’t have to go online to hear of news from Asia, Africa or some of Europe or even this hemisphere.  I can talk with people — every day — who are from around this planet and find out what they know and what they think.

I have a really great job.

It’s amazing how much we all have in common.  Perhaps it is that we all have lived (not just visited or vacationed in) another country.  The Koreans I interact with have the same complaints about their current leader as I do with Rick Perry.  We could have talked for hours.

I almost typed that I really love Koreans.  That would be mostly accurate, but somewhat exclusionary.  I really love to interact with my students.  One asked last week about my garden, and I mentioned the okra — which led to a discussion.   One of my students, from Mali, recognized the vegi I was talking about and said she had a delicious recipe.  (Getting to eat homemade food from other countries is one of the best perks of my job!)  I asked her how much she needed and collected it from my okra plants in the garden for a week.  She will cook on Wednesday.  I told her when I had picked the okra and some might be soft.  No worry, she assured me.

We’ll see what she brings on Thursday :)

I’m very lucky and I know it.  No whining here!

Some Video Links Plus Added Rants

I don’t get this. He doesn’t really say anything and his pronoun references are completely vague.  It looks like someone in the GOP lower levels is trying to push the NJ gov for prez.  What about Rick Perry!!!!1!!1!1!

Sarah Palin gets put on the spot.  I can think of quite a number of people more qualified to yap about the oil spill.  Michael Berry isn’t one of them.

White male Seattle idiot police officer punches a young black woman in the face. Commenters say she deserved it.  It’s hard to watch.  I don’t think I could have stood there and just recorded it. Cops can just be criminals with guns.  One Bellaire cop shot a pro baseball player and got off — nothing happened to him.  Michael Berry blamed the baseball player’s mother for the shooting.  FAIR ENOUGH?

Related:  Pasty white boy gets ruffed up by 68 year old.  The same people showing there “balls” about a cop punching a 19 year old black girl get misty-eyed and cry Assault!!!!  Assault!!!!! when it’s one of their own.  These people are insufferable.

Lastly, I am SICK of pasty white people telling African Americans that this that or the other is their problem.  As I have said again and again, why can’t all of the pasty white concern trolls take a look at their own poor white folks and fix that?   Michael Berry and Bill Bennett need to quit acting like they’re black and get with taking care of all of the poor whites.  Wouldn’t that be novel?

Pasty white guy wants drug testing.  Who is going to pay for that?  Does the Utah Senator have some interest in a drug testing kit company?  Does the Utah Senator have a problem with people who are down on their luck?  I’d like to see him submit to a drug test on the teevee first.  Dick.

Lastly, I’m about ready to build a Mexico City style wall around my damn house.  Someone put the nicely bundled vegetation I had ready to go for next month’s green pick up by the city in my recycle cart, destroying the very expensive new freaking green yard waste bag I had ready in the process.  Whoever it was left my recycle cart in the middle of the driveway, too.  Oh, and whoever it was, cut up my Lantana, too.

Dicks — all of them.

Today and Tomorrow

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto.  There are some who want to stir up shit on this day, but truth be told, it’s nonsense.  I’ve only ever run into one person from Mexico who was pissy about demographics.  And I work with more people from Mexico than the average person.  So that means I KNOW.  Take that.

I was off today.  While listening to lies all day, I cleaned the backyard and “dressed” my hanging tomato plants.  I also found spots for my remaining cucumber and sunflower plants.

I thought about what it means to be a Texan.  I was born here and have lived here all but a year and a half of my life.  When I was a little girl, my family went to the San Jacinto Monument for picnics and to remember.  While the rest of my family is totally wing nutty, I’m not.  I love my city and my state.  While I was overseas, I always said I was from Texas.  It just where you are from.  It’s what pissed (and still does) off so many people from here to have George W. Bush claim to be a native son.  He wasn’t.  It still pisses me off that Barbara Bush lives here and can say nasty things that reflect poorly on us.  It pisses me off the Perry is still the governor.

(Let’s just see if Michael Berry really reads this:  Michael, how does it feel to say the N word on the air?)

Tomorrow is Earth Day.  As I said earlier, I will plant some seedlings.  I hope to also get the peppers and carrots into new planters — not sure if that will happen.  I need to plant the oregano and parsley. . .in other words, every day is Earth Day around here.

And while I’m at it, no one has ever died working on a solar panel – nor have any birds or other animals.  What was that CRAZY Carter guy onto when he put solar panels on the White House.  Have you ever wondered why you can’t afford to get solar panels on your house?  Especially ones that send energy back to the company you pay a ridiculous amount of money to for energy?  Could Chris Baker or Michael Berry address that for once?

The answer is no.  It wouldn’t make for good radio.  Good radio is sound effects, fart noises, silly parody songs and banging on BLACK PEOPLE especially the President.  That’s what makes good radio.

Oh, and how many times a white guy can say nigger on the radio.  That’s the most important part of good radio.

Only in Texas

You ask, (don’t you) why do BLACKS and HISPANICS have clubs that good old white boys can’t join? There’s the BLACK this and the HISPANIC that, and good old white boys say, “Where’s my club, dammit?”

This is our starting point.  Anyone can join any group he wants.  If Michael Berry decided that he wanted to be a member of the NAACP, he could, his adoption of a child born in Africa not withstanding.  Men can join women’s groups, caucasians can join any group.

But there are places, mostly golf clubs and other last refuges of caucasian exclusivity, that historically have not let others in.  True fact.

So, why have people started groups to represent their non-caucasian selves you wonder?  (If you are a teabagger who just woke up, or a talk radio host who just wants to stir up the racial animosities as those who have the means always have in this state and Houston as well.)

I could attribute it to the White Man Whine, but it’s more than that.

The first person to sign up for the new caucasian club was an Hispanic female.  Shocked?  Hispanic is not a race.  If you look at any census, look at the diversity of Hispanics,  it is clear (for the thinking person).  Some Hispanics are caucasian.  Surprised?  Some are mixed.  Some are of African origin.  Some are of Asian origin.

In the end, this club may be forward looking.  Caucasians will be in the minority soon and this club might serve a purpose.  I think there will be a day soon that talk radio, oil companies or the Republican party (and I include teabaggers here because they didn’t try to take over Democratic precincts this spring, only Republican — they have only put out ads about the Republican County Chair.  They don’t care about Democrats — never have) will be the minority.  Hell, they probably already are.  It’s just going to take some time for this white thing to roll over.

Another Haiti Post

I remember what Hurricane Ike was like.  It was scary because you knew it was coming.  It was scary because of the wind.  But everyone knew after hours and hours of wind and rain, it would eventually stop.  It was eerie around here when there was no electricity.  At least I knew that my house was still standing afterwards, in the dark.  For two weeks, I had my house and knew it wouldn’t fall down on me — even if the ceiling was crumbling in a couple of places.  I felt safe in my house.

The people in Haiti have no such security.  Either their houses were destroyed or they were unstable — the houses could fall at any moment.  They are by necessity out in the street.  The city was built to accommodate 50K, but 2 mil were living there.  They don’t have electricity.  They don’t have any way to communicate.

I turned off every media that focused on any violence in Haiti earlier today.  The PBS News Hour disappointed me in trying to push that point.  It’s wrong and sensationalizing.  Something Fox News Channel would do — like they did with the president’s stopping deportations.

My hope is that things will get better over the weekend.  There has to be a way for the U.S. military, the Red Cross and the U.N., despite their losses on the ground, to get their operations up and running.

Now for the shame.  Though no one I try to shame will ever admit it, I’ll do it anyway.

First to Kevin WhitedCoward. Nothing on the Houston Haitian community or the earthquake.  As if it never happened.  Less than a month into the new city administration, Kevin is grousing.    Who could have predicted?

And then there is Kathleen.  Remember, she’s all for getting blacks (not Hispanics so much) into the Republican party.  Here are her contributions.  On her Houston Chronicle blog, it seems self promotion and the pasty work is more important than what happened in Haiti.  She finally posted something today — a false equivalence — seriously, Danny Glover vs. Pat Robertson?  But she adds this diddy that she claims she can’t get out of her head:

The devil went down to Hait, he was looking for a soul to steal.
He was in a bind ‘cos he was way behind: he was willin’ to make a deal.
When he came across this young man talkin’ to a frenchi who was all hot.
And the devil jumped upon a palm stump and said: “Boy let me tell you what:
“I bet you didn’t know it, but I own the frenchies too.
“And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you.
“Now you have pretty good island, boy, but give the devil his due:
“I bet freeing you from the french against your soul, ‘cos I think I can make it better for you.”
The boy said: “My name’s Jean-Bertrand and it might be a sin,
“But I’ll take your bet, your gonna regret, ‘cos we’re the best island that’s ever been.”

Where the hell did she get that from?  I can’t find it anywhere.  Is there some email making the rounds?  Sorry, but that’s the most racist thing I’ve read in a while.

(shakes head)

She finishes with this:

Danny, Pat? I’ve got a newsflash for you guys. Satan didn’t do this and gobal (sic) warming didn’t do this. This is called nature. So get over your stupid theories.

I don’t get it.

It seems fairly straight forward to me.  There is a Haitian community in Greater Houston.  The earthquake is a big deal.  Perhaps these Republicans got burned during Katrina and can’t seem to bring themselves to even look at what happened in Haiti.

It will take a lot of work by people with more expertise than me to get Haiti together and healthy and safe.  Is there so much going on that Kevin and Kathleen can’t even suggest a place to give on their very influential blogs?

Let’s be Honest, This is a Rant

(Without links for tonight)

First off, I woke up to Mike Gallagher going on about political correctness — like that is new.  He wants to screen every person with a Muslim name who wants to get on a plane.  I find it odd that there isn’t more outrage about how the guy got on the plane in Africa or Europe.  Do the TSA have people in Amsterdam?  Another disappointment is that Janet Napolitano felt that she had to answer the screamers.

(Obvious parenthetical — the city was supposed to start requiring biodegradable bags for yard waste, but the new bags are not available widely enough yet.  I was able to get all but one bag out for the latest pickup.  I will switch to the other bags, but having ordered my composter, I may only need to purchase one package.)

Back to the would be bomber — given that I went on an international flight less than a month after 9/11, I’m not one of the people who gets worked up about this.  It’s always been the case that traveling by car is much more dangerous and wouldn’t it be novel for the American public and our officials (in that order) figure that out?   The solution to the current issue would be for international airports to wonder and stop someone who doesn’t live in the U.S. buying a one way ticket here.  But that’s not what the criticism is about.  It will be conflated to 9/11 and be very afraid to fly and everyone will lose some of their freedoms — or not.

Part of me wonders how families and people in general endured continental flights before there were laptops, cell phones, DS’s etc.  How did they survive it?  And to get back to Mike Gallagher, he pointed to how the Israeli airline deters terrorists:  they basically profile Palestinians.  As he claims, no one complains.  That would make sense.  Palestinians live in world where they are suspected no matter what.  They are made to wait and wait, often in the sun, just to get to their jobs.  Yes, let’s be just like Israel, where you have to be a Jew to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.

I know, Gallagher is just looking to get blog hits at this point.  For the last week his sub has admitted as much.  He is promoting a link on his blog that gives an 800 number to D.C.  Either one of them could have given the number on the air, but no.  You must go to the website — oh and sign yet another petition.  About Health Insurance Reform.  The first one, delivered via ambulance, didn’t work, and so you must do it again.

The same station delivered a ridiculous “best of” Bill Bennett this morning.  Why should we let these people be in charge again?  It also advertises the USJF — no, not the Judo thing, but the wingnutty thing that supports not only the birthers, but seems to be run by a Dickensian named KREEP, and wants to erect a monument to Saint Ronnnie in Berlin.

I’ve run out of steam.  I’ve tried to be humorous.  I’ll add links tomorrow.

I had wanted to take picks of what I have been doing, the process, but I didn’t.  If there is no rain in the morning, I will capture the work in progress.

And speaking of progress, and the end of the year, I, for one, think our President and Vice President are doing a very good job.  I’m relieved that they are the ones in charge.  I’m also extremely happy about our Mayor.  Except for the governorship, I’ve got the representation that I have always wanted.

More Missionaries

Cal Thomas was on my radio this morning begging for money.  He says that he knows times are tough, but please give him some money anyway.  Just think of him as the missionary to the media.

Many years ago, I went to Latvia to teach English.  I got a job with a nonprofit.  I bought all of my own supplies and even took a good number of supplies to leave with the teachers there.  While I was there, I took my meager resources and bought class sets of books for the little school where I taught.  Computer access was limited and the school I worked at had no copier.  I was fortunate enough to be able to use other nonprofits’ computers and paid for copies I made for students myself.  I worked two other jobs in addition to my nonprofit job in order to pay for all of this.  I went into debt.  I never asked another person for money — ever.

After I came back, one of my brother’s friends from junior high and high school decided he wanted to be a missionary.  He sent everyone he knew letters begging for them to give him money for a missionary trip to — get this — Prague.  He needed a computer.   He needed a car.  He needed a nice place to stay.  He needed clothes.  All so he could go to Prague.

I guess he got enough money to get by.  After he returned from Prague, he went to work for Tom Craddick.  And that’s one way the missionary wheel turns.  I’m sure there are others.

One example could be the Saturday revelation that the Christians have decided that someone can’t be mayor of our city because she is a lesbian.  They worry about “the gays” taking over city hall.”  I am so very tired of these people.  Never mind that Annice Parker has a track record with our city of service — very good service.  And never mind that these same people failed to support their candidate during the regular election (they trashed their candidate instead the day after).

I’m no missionary, but I think you guys are doing it wrong.

Tear Down This Wall

I work with people from all over the planet — every continent and almost every country.

Not a single one of them credits Ronald Reagan with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I lived in (not as a tourist) a former Soviet Republic.  Twice.  No one there credited Ronald Reagan with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I visited Gdansk.  I didn’t see any monument to Ronny.

But this freaking meme will not die.

Even Gorbachev and liberal historians agree that Reagan was the driving force behind ending the cold war. Why would you want to deny it? So strange to me.

Completely unsourced and untrue.  I lived with people who lived through it.  I didn’t just visit them or read some book.  I lived with them.

What nonsense this woman spews.  She doesn’t even know what she is talking about.

On The New Hour tonight, West Germans admitted that while they paid for reunification monetarily, the people of East Germany paid in other ways, painful ways.

I will always remember my colleagues.  There were some good aspects of their system.  Ones that they missed.  Before independence, women weren’t assaulted.  Just go and search you tube for Russian prisons.  And now parts of the former Soviet Union have “leaders for life” — that’s progress if you don’t care about the people who live under those rulers — or don’t even know where those places are.

Tales from School

Does three make a trend?  Last week a student wore a T-shirt to school that said, “Females wanted for sex experiments” or something like that.  I didn’t see it.  But the co-worker who did was standing at my office door when she saw it and she went ballistic.  “Someone should do something about this!  Someone should tell the director!”  she railed, fist in the air. (Not really, but she got really worked up really quickly.)  I agreed to “do something” but apparently wasn’t sufficiently enraged, so my co-worker took over the righteous march to the director’s office.

After calling the legal department and having cerebral discussions of free speech, we all got an email stating that we could do nothing about it.  I offered — practical person that I am — the opinion that someone should at least warn the student that someone might take offense.  (The student is in level 2 with limited English skills.)  You know, so when he’s at a club and some girl comes up and slaps him, he would know why.  But I was a minority of one.

Until the second incident.  A student came to school with a naked lady on his T-shirt.  Not a cartoon, but a picture of an actual naked lady.  FREE SPEECH!!!!!! was not the cry.  Someone went to the book store and bought him a new, bland, T-shirt.

This morning I was giving a test when I noticed the T-shirt one of my students who was sitting in the back had on.  In large letters it declared, “I have a PhD.*”  The * started “pretty h” and that’s all I could see because he was leaning over his desk.  I was hoping hoping hoping that my hunch was wrong.  He’s a nice guy and a good student.  Unfortunately,  I was right.  The “h” word was huge.  You can guess the rest.  I warned the teacher for the next class and told the director.  We wondered if there was some connection.  The three students were from three different continents.  The only commonality is that all three were guys.

What’s wrong with you guys?!?!?!?!?!

In another class, I was playing a listening/pronunciation exercise from a CD.  I asked the students to say the sentences like the person on the CD (it was a female voice).  Simultaneously, several of the male students repeated what they had heard in a falsetto voice.  (Like Michael Berry did this evening while he was mocking Nancy Pelosi.)  Ha ha ha.

What’s wrong with you guys?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?

In the same class, but on a different day, the topic was accents.  One question from the text was about different accents in the students’ native languages.  All of the students responded with examples of regional accents in their home countries, except for the Kazakhs.  NO.  All people speak Russian without an accent!  It was the language of the Soviet Union!  Everyone speaks Russian the exact same way!

So completely predictable.  You see, I’ve heard this nonsense before, when I lived in Latvia.  Like other Soviet myths (Russians invented baseball, a Russian wrote the Winnie the Pooh books) this one just won’t die.

As I patiently tried to explain that Russian is no different from any other language, one student fought back:  You’re wrong!  Another student was crestfallen, seemingly on the verge of tears.

I’m sure it’s the same reaction that the chain emailer dupes felt when that mean old Michael Berry told them that, no, they hadn’t found a 9/11 terrorist sympathizer in their midst, but rather a devoutly religious person who happened not to be Christian.

Pobrecitos.

Should I add a tag, “What’s wrong with you guys?”?

Update:  It lives!  It lives!  In comments to the Chronicle post I linked to, one commenter insists that the date wasn’t September 11th, so the shop owner is dubious.  Dispel rumors?  I think not.

Why I am not on the front line of the culture wars

There is no better way to have your cultural values expressed than through the political process.  I don’t buy into political pandering.  I don’t subscribe to cable or satellite tv.  That’s probably the biggest reason, though maybe not.  Perhaps the biggest reason is that I’m not a joiner type.

I vote in every election that I have the opportunity to.  I give money to my local reps, and to statewide reps, and gave to Obama.  But as should be clear, I devote my time and money to animals — taking care of the dumped pups last year and the kittens this year.  It’s costly and time consuming.  And the people associated with the various rescue places are dicks, plain and simple.  They all have their turf to defend, they all have their stories.

From the rescuers at BARC to the people protesting at abortion clinics and military recruiting outlets, they are fanatics, focused on their one thing.  Sure they have other interests, but nothing trumps their one cause.

It’s no way to live.

It’s why I will figure out a way to find homes for the two kittens and Jessie on my own before I would ever go to another rescue operation, ever.

It’s why I will never accept the equivalency of the death of a recruiter for the military with a doctor.

It’s why I will never understand why one sentence can damn someone for a SCOTUS nomination and all of the sentences of others are just so much talk.

Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed — ahould she have to answer all the culture war questions?  Nope.  John Roberts, nor Alito did.  Otherwise, we would have  seen what they have to say about how the activist courts have been  the way for anti-abortionists to make their point.

Some people just never give up.