Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In which I am a dreadful person.

One of my step-nieces has joined an evangelical fundie cult. Her new church is all about "praying the ghey away," speaking in tongues, laying on of hands and prayer to heal (rather than traditional medicine), exorcising demons and snake-handling. (I wish I was kidding. Friday services feature serpent wrangling.)

The pastor of this dubious organization urges his members to disconnect from all family that is not willing to attend a series of informational lectures on his church. He also asks that all his female congregants call him "pastor daddy."A lot of his female followers found his church when they were emotionally fragile and vulnerable. Apparently God has directed him to hang out around various AA and support groups to minister to those fragile women who need spiritual counsel.

He's a fucking vulture. A sweaty, long-haired, fat-fingered greasy predator.

My niece is marrying his son this August. In her year-long association with this group, she has stolen money from her father (my step-brother) and my step-sister. This was OK, according to her an "pastor daddy" because she was only taking it to give to the church. She also makes a point to tell everyone that they are, in fact, going to Hell.

I was invited to see her church, out of pure concern for my soul. You see, as a Catholic, I am not saved. Nor am I Christian. I am a heathen who worships the whore of Babylon. Before I can go to her wedding, however, I would have to submit myself for personal exorcism by pastor daddy (which involves "shedding the outer layers of this world and being fully immersed"  - i.e., getting naked and dunked in his backyard pool). Only then would TEH CATHOLIC COOTIES be removed.

The wedding invite (with a list of pre-conditions) came via Facebook -- honestly, who sends wedding invites via FB? -- yesterday. I mused on it and sent my regrets.

Then I sent them a Catholic Mass card of congratulations, telling them that they've been enrolled in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and Masses for the next five years. I mailed it to them care of their church storefront's address.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He died the way he lived...

...with car parts in his anus.

Seriously, if you're going to drink and drive -- or drive in excess of 100 MPH on a two-lane country road rife with winding turns** and Kamikaze deer -- you're asking for a Darwin award.

The first picture is from the local news affiliates. It's what's left of a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 after it hit a guard rail, plowed through several yards of trees and foliage and burned to the frame. The two occupants died of "blunt force and thermal trauma,"  according to the local coroners prelim autopsy report. Tox isn't in yet, but he tweeted a pic of himself and two buds (one of whom was the other fatality) drinking at Barnaby's in West Chester, and they all looked pretty hammered. I'd not wager on BAC (mostly because I'm not sure how they'd test, given the crash and subsequent fire).

I hope with all my heart that they were both dead on impact, and didn't suffer. The idea of being torn to pieces and then burning alive is a dreadful one.

The second picture is from Dunn's infamous "stuff a toy car up his ass" stunt on "Jackass." Yes, he really did use his rectum as a carpark for a Matchbox car.

(**I live about ten minutes from the accident scene, and drive by it several times a week. People drive like absolute speeding assholes, and there are routinely accidents with fatalities along its length.)

Monday, June 20, 2011


I hate boats, Hate, hate, hate.  I fucking hate boats.

God, that felt good.

My in-laws are avid boaters. They have had multiple boats over the years, and boat gatherings are their favored social event. April through October, the cry goes out: "Hey! We should all go hang out down on the boat!" In fact, everyone is supposed to suit up for a jolly good time on ye olde boate this coming weekend.

Here's the problem: I get motion sick on friggin' escalators. So, a boat outing for me goes one of two ways -- either I take enough Dramamine to be non-functional (seriously, I'm floppy as a marionette with cut strings), or I literally spend all my time vomiting, dry-heaving and so nauseous as to be useless. Even giant cruise ships make me seasick. Wristbands, fresh air, all sorts of home cures for seasickness prove useless in the face of my shot equilibrium.

A day on a boat -- any boat -- is a very unpleasant experience for me and everyone around me who gets squicked out by being vomited upon or uncomfortable around a woman who has been, for all intents and purposes, roofied.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to think that "this time, it will be different! You'll be OK! You can learn to enjoy it!"

Crap. Utter crap.

The other side of this is, "Well, fine. You can stay on shore and (insert activity)." This usually leads me to grumble that I have other things I could just as easily be doing at home, rather than sitting on an uncomfortable dock, or a useless yacht club.

However, I'm generally branded a sourpuss who refuses to have fun whenever I complain. Which is what I'm doing here.

Seriously? Fuck boats and boating in general.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Tale of the Pooters.

Saturday classes are a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, there are very few people on campus -- those who have to teach, their students, and Campus Safety. EVERYTHING is closed, or has very abbreviated hours. Book store, Java Junkie stand, library -- everything is shuttered on Saturdays. There are very few on-campus Saturday classes, so it's not unusual to be the only one in your particular building during your allotted course time -- particularly if the class starts at ass o'clock  on a summer Saturday (or 8AM).

This means that you can make noise with impunity, leave doors open to catch crossbreezes and relax classroom decorum a bit to include eating and drinking. It also means that you can turn a lecture on Poe in to a multi-classroom scavenger hunt or "CSI"-style investigation, to keep everyone interested and awake.

The downside is it's a very "Silent Hill" type of experience to have to unlock the whole building, turn on all the lights and vending machines and otherwise wander around a dark, empty classroom building well before anyone else is around. It ALSO means that anyone who wanders on to campus and has questions will take you for the Person in Authority that can answer everything. Enter the Pooter family.

I was whipping through my lecture, hoping to wrap up a half-hour early, when the classroom door banged open and in wandered three people of dubious provenance.

"HI!" boomed the father. "We're the Pooters! Y'all should be expecting us!"
One dad, a widely smiling mom (who looked like she had been carved out of Lily Pulitzer and cream cheese) and a very uncomfortable and embarrassed-looking young woman stood in front of me, waving a campus map.
"Uh, I beg your pardon? This is Themes in Literature Seminar. We aren't expecting anyone, and we're in the middle..." He barreled on as if he didn't hear me.
"Now, my daughter, Pitty Pooter, will be here in the fall, and we came up to poke around campus, but nothing is open. We'd like you to show us around."
"I'm sorry. Did you get a letter stating today was your official acceptance/orientation tour?" (I knew full well the answer was no, because official tours are scheduled for late July.)
"Yeah, but we wanted to have our own, hands-on tour. Now, show us where the bookstore is...you have keys? Can you let us in and sell us a sweatshirt or two? How about the cafeteria? Oh, and we want to see Pitty's dorm room -- I want to take a few measurements..."
"Sir, I am sorry, but I am not a tour guide, and I am conducting a class right now. I can direct you to Campus Security, but everything is closed, and you'll get more out of your offical tour later next month. Now, I really have to get back to teaching..."
"But who is going to show us this campus? Surely you can do that!"
"No, I really can't. I have to finish teaching the class that you interrupted. Now, Campus Safety should be able to answer some of your questions."

(It was a fine line because on the one hand, I did not want to alienate them, and on the other, I had to cover at least another hours' worth of material. I wanted to thump Mr. Pooter about the neck and shoulders with my Norton. Argh.)

I ushered them out in to the hall and gave them directions. Then I went back into my classroom and called Big Steve, the Security dude on duty, to warn him. I knew Big Steve was not going to be pleased, because Big Steve's idea of policing campus during the summer is playing WoW  and online poker, and not bestirring himself out of the air conditioned security offices unless he needs to piss, or hit the vending machines. Big Steve has all the personality (and personal aroma) of curdled milk, and the welcoming mien of a semi-rabid stoat with inflamed hemmorhoids.

Big Steve uttered a stream of profanities that did my heart proud, and was still cursing a blue streak when I hung up. I turned back to my class, all of whom had entirely lost their trains of thought.

"Guys..." I looked at the clock. The entire debacle had taken 45 minutes, and brought us to within 20 minutes of class being over. There was no way we were getting anything else done. "We'll catch up next week. Let's get out of here."
"Yeah, before they come back!" one student interjected. We all beat feet for our cars.

As I pulled out of the faculty lot, I saw Big Steve truculently leading the Pooters over dormwards, with a sour look on his face. I said a quick prayer that Pitty would not end up in any of my sections int he fall, because I get the sense that her parents are the Sikorsky of helicopter parents.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Oooops." The bitter end.

Finally, the day arrived: Last class! I practically sproinged out of bed and sprinted to class. I was very eager to shake the dust of this section off my heels and walk away.

I collected all of the various forms I needed and distributed course evals, and then departed to give them some privacy to fill the forms out. (Apparently, if the prof is in the room, students might feel too intimidated to give accurate feedback. What the fuck ever.) I met up with the other section prof in the hall; she shared a sour and commiserating look before we returned to our rooms.

I gave the traditional end-of-semester speech, turned them loose and grabbed the sealed envelope of evals -- which seemed to weigh fifty pounds. Off I went to give them to my department head. The other prof and I met up in the hall and walked, silently, together. We arrived at her office at the same time, and we handed over our evals like a jury foreman handing over the results in a capitol murder case. we sighed in unison.

She took them, thanked us and then gave us a long, measuring look -- and then tossed them, unopened, into the trash.

"Have a good summer, ladies. New texts will be in the mail late next week." Then she turned back to her computer.

We left, a little more optimistic. "How many challenges do you think we are going to get?" she asked.

"Probably a shit-tonne. Opportunistic little fuckers will see what they can get, and parents are pissed. I suspect we are going to be filling out paperwork for months on this one."

"Fuck." "Indeed."

Over the course of the following two weeks, 17 out of 19 challenged grades in my section; 20 out of 20 in hers. We did spend about six weeks photocopying, e-mailing, justifying and printing out reams of documentation. I spent more time on campus providing paper trail than I do during a normal semester.

In the end, admin actually stood behind both of us, and every single grade was upheld.  So, win for us...I guess.

Though both of us agree that we're never volunteering for shit again. The whole incident left a very bitter taste in our mouths, towards the canned prof and frankly, towards students. I hope that a light summer schedule will help me get my optimistic mojo back, and I won't start in the fall by giving every single frosh that crosses  my path the evil eye.

I will serve on curriculum committee and judicial affairs before I pick up an orphaned class again. Fuck that shit right in the ear.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In which a jackbag earns public ridicule.

(Go to Breda's for a wee bit of expanded background.)

So. An invertebrate who shall not be named grabbed a copy of a picture of Breda open-carrying at her local China*Mart from her excellent blog post on "Open Carry Day,"and  re-posted it on his blog with a rather misogynistic and offensive title.

(I'm not naming or linking to the invertebrate. I suspect the resulting Bredalanche has him furiously massaging his prostate with a turnip twaddler while wearing his dead grandmother's nightgown and sniffing his uncle's dirty, piss-stained y-fronts in ecstasy. You can find him fairly easily.)

When Twittered a request to remove the offensive post, followed by polite e-mails and comments on the post itself (from Breda, her husband and a vast swath of the gunblogger community) Gun-not-so-s-mart doubled-down on the ignorance and dug in his heels. He DID eventually remove the pic, but kept the offensive title.

One of the commenters on jackbag's blog decried mob rule and infringement of jackbag's FREE SPEECH OMG!!!ELEVENTY!!

Here's the thing:

Jackbag is absolutely free to say whatever the hell he wants. No one is preventing him from showing his bepimpled, cellulite-ridden hemmorhoidal ass all over the place. HOWEVER, he also should be prepared to put on his Big Boy Boxers and deal with the consequences. Public shaming and censure from a fairly small and tight-knit community can sting a bit. Wear your cup.

This is otherwise known as the "Dixie Chick Provision." Act like an ass, and you can't expect acceptance and readership. In fact, you can expect to have that ass handed back to you, with several sets of boot prints on it.

Several other very excellent writers have already opined on the issue; have a read or several:
I suspect the next Vicious Circe is going to be quite a raucous one. I may have to call in!