Friday, April 27, 2007


Someone just got here via a search for "Michael Chiarello asshole."

I knew it wasn't just me. I KNEW it.

Perdone, por favor, mi español pobre

--but even I can make out the title, and so far as I can understand the rest of the piece, I'd say CalheR gets it. Contrasting coverage of the Austin clinic bomb attempt by American feminist bloggers with the Houston Chronicle's report, s/he notes:

La noticia completa tiene solo dos párrafos más, que he preferido no traducir porque tampoco dicen nada nuevo. Id allí y buscad la palabra terrorista, veréis como no aparece. Ni atentado. Ni siquiera la bomba era tal cosa: era un dispositivo capaz de causar lesiones o la muerte. ¡Qué cosa tan inofensiva! ¡Seguro que lo han hecho sin querer!

En fin. Imaginaros que, en lugar de ser ese mismo dispositivo puesto por un grupo pro-vida en una clínica abortiva, lo hubiera sido por un grupo pro-Alá en un colegio o en un hospital.

Very, very, VERY roughly en inglés:

The complete [Houston Chronicle] article has only 2 more paragraphs, which I have declined to reproduce as they don't add anything new either. If you go and you look for the word "terrorist," you will see it doesn't appear. Nor "attack." Not even the bomb is such a thing; it is "a device capable of causing injury or death." What an inoffensive thing! Surely it was made without that intent!

In conclusion: Imagine that, instead of the same device being put by a pro-life group in an abortion clinic, it had been put by a fundamentalist Muslim group in a school or a hospital. Yes, surely the narration of the event would have been very different.

What's the Spanish for "heh indeed?"

Into the Bloglines you go, Mentiras Piadosas, y gracias.

In Which I Confess My Heretofore Secret Adoration

Dearest Hilzoy,

I love you. I love you passionately enough to bear your United States citizens with full legal rights.

Love (and a nice rasher of crispy bacon),


Thursday, April 26, 2007

This is What Erasure Looks Like, Or: That's One Way to Title This Photo, I Suppose

Perhaps it's just an artifact or a trick of the light, but I'm seeing someone something else in this photo besides wood floors.

It's just me, right? I need glasses, I bet.

She Did This Just to Show Me Up

Lauren triumphs over ADD; alas, I cannot say the same.

The box in the background of the photo above is, of course, filled with Christmas cards I never sent last year. But you see, I've got them right there, where I can see them, so this year, this is going to be my year. Things are going to change, I can feel it.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lie to Me, Internet Quiz

Lie shamelessly, lie often!

It's all so flattering, almost as if they'd designed it that way!

Some of this stuff is true. I do like to be alone and I do like to have my way, making me a barrel of JOY JOY JOY to live with, let me tell you. Or let the boyfriend tell you. In fact I will let him tell you, just as soon as I unchain him from the bedpost and permit him to speak again.

But I do NOT have an eye for fine detail, which is how I wound up with a duvet cover that doesn't match the bedskirt, and did I tell you about the bathroom towels? The bathroom towels that don't match either because I could not tell the difference, in the bright lights of the store, between "terracotta" and "deep terracotta?" I am blind to detail. An imbecile. A walking fashion-don't.

Hey, listen: No one tell Chris Clarke about this quiz, okay? Because one of the choices for "That's Gross" is [whispering] a photo of a dude's hairy back and, well, you know how he gets about that. It is currently the most popular choice in the category of grossness, beating even the cigarette photo. But come on, Steroid Steve up there is much more disgusting than either of those choices. Everyone knows this; I don't know why they're all pretending they don't.

(Via beansbeans.)

Negative for Posting, Commenting, or Answering Email. Positive for Working a Whole Bunch.

I have been working a lot. Consequently I have developed a long shit list. Members of this list include:

  • All physical therapists: Rival only surgeons for mumbling and dictating reports with mouths full of food. Appear to increase, rather than relieve, pain in at least half their patients. Bore me senseless. Shut up, physical therapists.

  • All rheumatologists: I get that rheumatology is unbelievably complicated, but MUST every chart note exceed 15 minutes in yakety-yak time? Oh, must it really? You called in a medication refill, Dr. Rheumy. That should be one minute--two minutes, tops, if you also want to note a few lab results while you've got me on the line. Shut up, rheumatologists.

  • All podiatrists without exception everywhere and always amen, amen: Oh my stars and garters, will you all just shut up about the marvels of custom orthotics already. Custom orthotics bore me. Feet bore me. YOU bore me. Shut up, podiatrists.

    Specialties so far remaining in my good graces: Neurology, Oncology, and a handful of internists but by no means most of them, or even half of them. This is just my personal experience, but it seems to me* as though neurology and oncology attract some brusque, no-nonsense personalities and damnit, as a transcriptionist, that is what I want. In fact it is what I generally want as a patient, too, but I don't think I'm the rule there and I imagine most people are all complaining that their neurologists and oncologists are so cold and clinical, no bedside manner at all. GOOD, I say. If I suddenly develop multiple sclerosis I don't want bedside manner. I want a cold clinical fish who won't mistakenly diagnose me with Parkinson's or epilepsy or Lou Gehrig's or what have you.

    Do not even start me on the OB/GYNs, whose bedside manners stink more than not anyhow, but especially when they're done up Hollywood-fashion.

    *Translation: "Don't show up here with a link to an August 2005 survey you searched up to demonstrate that, actually, most neurologists and oncologists are the swellest, swingingest, heppest, most personable people around, because I don't give a fuck and I don't want to hear it and if I could be bothered to check in with this blog more regularly, I would even delete that comment on the grounds that this blog is not the Monty Python Argument Clinc** and I find the tendency of people on the internet to nitpick every declarative statement, however qualified, tempered, and disclaimer-laden it may be, unbearably tedious."

    **Why, yes, of course I will delete you for quoting from the Argument Clinic sketch. Depend upon it.
  • Monday, April 16, 2007


    Hey, what's this? Oh, yeah: I have a blog! I should post in it or something, huh?

    I had a really good conversation with my mother this evening. One of the reasons you couldn't pay me to go back to being a teenager (along with the acne, the hormones, the unrequited love, the ridiculous curfew, and the backstabbing faux friends) is that when I was younger I could not relate to my mother at all. As far as I was concerned, my mother was just one big walking list of What Not To Do When You Grow Up. And my job was to point out every single one of those items on that list to her every second of every day. Item One: Jiminy Christmas, the house is clean enough. Put the vacuum away.

    Of course, now that I'm older and posting pictures of my yellowed bathroom grout on the internet it occurs to me that, hey! If you clean halfway decently once a week, you never get to yellowed grout in the first place. Maybe mom had a point all those years.

    We were not talking about housecleaning tonight, though. We were talking about people who don't communicate. That is, we were talking about my boyfriend's family and my mother's family.

    "Every time I think the (mother's maiden name)'s are bad about not communicating," I told her, "I just take a look at the boyfriend's family. They're worse."

    "Oh, I know," my mother said. "I don't know how I dealt with it all those years. I don't want to think what I might have been like if I'd stayed there. You can't say anything! No one ever expresses any emotion--"

    "Emotion, hell," I said, "The boyfriend's family won't even deal in facts if the facts are in any way unpleasant."

    "Yes! What causes that?" my mother asked. I think she was mostly asking herself, but I'm a bigmouth, so I jumped right in with my pet theory.

    "I honestly think it's some Midwestern farming family thing handed down through generations of Scandinavians and Germans," I replied, because I love blaming everything on ethnicity, provided it's some ethnicity I share in myself. It's so convenient, and at least half the time you're right. My mother's family is Scandinavian (and English, another ethnic group famous for forthrightness and high comfort levels with messy emotional matters). My boyfriend's family is German and Irish, but it's the German that predominates. I know this because I have never succeeding in enjoying a drink with any of them, save of course my boyfriend, who seems to have got all the Irish and nearly none of the German.

    "But I mean, you can't even say stuff that's harmless, or I mean harmless to normal people, for fear it might hurt cousin so-and-so's feelings," I continued.

    "Every time I go back there I get in trouble," my mother said, referring to her mother's house. "I mean every time, because of course your father, you know he just says whatever's on his mind, and then since I've been living with him, I've adapted to his ways, and so I'm--I'm not used to covering up anymore, either, and I forget myself and say what I think, and then everyone else is horrified."

    "And it's always over something trivial. At least, with Mark's family. Stuff that wouldn't bother anyone else, but if you say it, it's 'Oh dear oh dear I just don't know--'"

    "Just saying what you'd like to eat is a crime," my mother agreed.

    We agreed that my father's family does communication better. The funny thing is I think this is one of the few times I have heard my mother come right out and say, "Your father's family has it right." My father's family is working-class Irish and Spanish. Between my grandfather the Spic and my grandmother the Mick, who had time to fuss over niceties? Who had time to obsess over what is and is not "nice to say?" They both worked like dogs. My father has no conception of "stay-at-home mom." He didn't grow up with one.

    But because of this cut-to-the-chase communication style, when my grandmother says, "Can I fix you something? How 'bout an English (muffin)? It'd take me just a minute to fix you a nice English," you know she means it. She isn't going to fix you an English muffin and then sneak off to the deck to carp to your aunt that you're so tiring, the way you keep her running in the kitchen all the time, and why couldn't you have just been polite and declined the English muffin, the way the Nice People are brought up to do?

    My dad's mom isn't going to do that to you. She's going to fix you a nice English muffin, and beam when you tell her it's good. Which you will do, because it will be awesome.

    But that is exactly what my mother's mother would do--plus, bonus, the English muffin would be horrible, all not toasted enough and scarcely dabbled with ye-gods-margarine--and that is why every question my maternal grandmother asks catches you off-guard, turns you to jelly while you ponder every potential (negative) ramification of your answer.

    Too many people I tell this to say "Oh not me, not me. I'd show her." Yeah? Bet me, motherfucker. I've seen strong people reduced to infants around my grandmother, even now, even these days, when she's on so many prescription narcotics it's a wonder she wakes up most mornings. Me? I "uh" and "um" around my mother's family a lot, stalling for time, trying to choose the least offensive answer--the nicest answer. They probably think I can't speak so good English.

    "Well, of course, it's very sad, but I suppose it isn't Ilyka's fault, bless her poor heart. Her mother did marry a Spanish man."

    Enough of them; it's your turn. What's your comfort zone of honesty in communication? Did you grow up with my mother's family, or my father's, or something in-between? I know my background and my preference; what's yours?

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Instances in Which I Am Just Barely Able to Overlook Sexism

    Okay: In my perfect world, Snoop would not describe his female lawyer as "riding for her pimp." She went to law school and passed the bar, Snoop; furthermore, she fought your battle on Bill O'Reilly's show while you did whatever it is you do on your off hours. Show some respect.

    We do not live in my perfect world, however, so I'll take what I can get.

    And rock on, Lauren Lake.