Archive for October, 2004

The Perpetual Motion Road Show

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

VOTE–there’s no future in nihilism.

Then come out to The Perpetual Motion Road Show.

I’ll be reading with hipster hellspawn Jim Munroe of No Media Kings & eco-novelist Richard Melo, author of Jokerman 8 . . .

Tues. Nov. 2 – Los Angeles 7 p.m. Flor y Canto (3706 N. Figueroa Ave.)

Wed. Nov. 3 – Berkeley 6:30 p.m. Long Haul Infoshop (3124 Shattuck Ave. – across from La Pena) – Special guests Fern Capella & Jeff Obser

Thurs. Nov. 4 – San Francisco 7pm. Needles and Pens (483 14th Street) – Special guests Fern Capella & Jeff Obser

Fri. Nov. 5 – Eugene 7 pm. Feinstein’s Museum of Unfine Art (537 Willamette)

Sat. Nov. 6 – Portland 7pm. Reading Frenzy (921 SW Oak St.)

Sun. Nov. 7 – Seattle 7pm. Confounded Books (315 E. Pine St.)

All shows are pay what you can . . .

See you there!

This is W.’s "Culture of Life"

Thursday, October 28th, 2004

Numbers out today: the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqis. “Most individuals killed by coalition forces were women and children,” according to researches at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. And as a consequence of the U.S. war against the people of Iraq, infant mortality rose from 29 deaths per 1,000 live births before the war to 57 deaths per 1,000 afterward.

“Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” said Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

“The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children,” Roberts told Reuters.

This isn’t going to stop just because we elect John Kerry.

Bush and Kerry have both pledged to continue this violent occupation & to “win” in Iraq. The people of Iraq are desperately trying to regain their sovereignty and right to determine their own futures without outside intervention.

There are lots of anti-war actions coming up — culminating in a mass action along the route of the Inaugural parade on January 20 in Washington, DC. 

Do it for the Canadians

Monday, October 25th, 2004

Rehnquist is down.

380 tons of explosives are missing in Iraq.

& if I see one more poll I think I might develop a permanent twitch.

Toronto was excellent, thanks for askin’, but everyone was on my back about our fucked up White House resident. They’re already preparing for the hoards of American refugees & draft dodgers expected to rush their windswept border should the dreaded happen.

Check it out: Marry an American.

“We can’t do anything about it!” They demanded. “What the hell is going on? Is there no dissent? You must vote that bastard out!”

If nothing else, then, do it for the Canadians!

Here are my national, Oregon & Cali votes . . .

(& let’s hope ‘ol Rehnquist can hang on ‘til Kerry is president).

National

President: John Kerry. Duh.

& Just vote Democrat down the ballot, dammit. This ain’t gonna be the year for a big Peace & Freedom Party upset. We’ll work on that later.

Oregon

Measure 33 — Yes

Measure 34 — Yes

Measure 35 — No

Measure 36 — No!

Measure 37 — No

Measure 38 — No

Multnomah County

Measure 26-64: No!

Portland

Mayor: Tom Potter

City Council, Position 1: Sam Adams

California

Prop 59 — YES

Prop 60 — YES

Prop 60A — NO

Prop 61 — YES

Prop 62 — NO

Prop 63 — YES

Prop 64 — NO

Prop 65 — NO

Prop 66 — YES

Prop 68 — NO

Prop 69 — No!

Prop 71 — Yes!

Prop 72 — YES

If you’ve got recommendations for your state initiatives, send ‘em my way.

Toronto

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

Provided my name hasn’t popped up in the “no fly” list, I’m off to Toronto. If you’re around, hope to see you at the Mothering & Feminism conference at York U. Friday night & / or at Another Story Bookshop on Saturday. Click “upcoming events” over there on the right for more info.

xo, ariel

This is Your Life

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

By Fern Capella

Excerpted from The Essential Hip Mama, the new book edited by Ariel

This is your life when you’re in a dream at 5 A.M. of running fast with your arms empty and you wake up to a screech and you think maybe you hopped a train, but then you feel something warm next to you in bed, and you remember

you had a baby three weeks ago.

And he’s crying, so you reach over to soothe your precious baby and pull him up on top of you and as you do his diaper comes off and his poop is now all over you, so you summon the courage to stand up and clean up so now you’re naked as your parents walk through your room smiling, “Good morning,” on their way to get coffee ‘cause

you’re 21 and single

and you’re living in their living room. But not for long ‘cause their next question is, “When do you think you’ll be up to moving out?” and you think, “When do I think I’ll be up to moving my body?” but you smile bravely and say, “Probably by next week.” So they leave so you can breathe but breathing is for the baby who you remember again and check on ‘cause

breath is such a fragile thing.

Then your stitches tug and you can’t imagine any of this ending, but then you can’t imagine any other beginning than the one of this amazing life you call your son, and the stupid “You Are My Sunshine” song that set you hysterically crying in front of your baby’s pediatrician yesterday as you thought of the second part—“please don’t take my sunshine away”—and you think, “How could I take it?” and you fully realize a mother’s terror.

Those poor mothers everywhere.

But really you could sob all day and who has time ‘cause you’re a mother now and your 3-ton tits are the last place you have been attacked in this war against your body as you hold one in each hand to shower while you have head out/ass in to sing your baby ga-ga songs about maybe getting a fucking break from someone sometime.

Like his father, that slime,

and your mother hears you and is appalled and you too are disgusted with yourself and swear his name will never be mentioned when your baby knows what you’re saying even though it seems like he always has with the beautiful way he surveys you and your heart hits the floor.

You love him like sapphires under your tongue.

And who else but his father calls to say he remembers why he made your baby and he could love you if you let him make another one. And you think that even you didn’t have anything to do but host the miracle that was being formed inside you and this asshole getting some ass one night most certainly did not either, so you thank him for his microscopic gift of one in ten billion sperm that happened to make the prettiest baby you’ve ever seen and hang up thinking,

It’s mostly between you and god now.

And so you pull some energy out from somewhere deep ‘cause you realize you won’t be wanting any breaks from Him, and you get you and your baby dressed and make your way to the store and there, in the midst of checkout, you’re roused from this seemingly endless daze to find the store clerk holding your whining baby with spit-up on his dark blue uniform and you writing a bad check with shaky fingers and the lady behind you in line dying to find out why your skin is whiter than white like Tide with Bleach and your baby looks like a Cuban that has just been rescued from the seas, and you snarl and say, “You wanna see my stretch marks?” ‘cause

he could only be your baby.

You get nauseous to think otherwise though that seems to be a better option as your mother mentions later that, “It’s never too late to consider adoption,” and you tell her, “It’s never too late to consider suicide,” and it’s all just so sugar sweet if you could just melt for a moment with your baby and rest you might just see clear but your interrupted in your merging by a phone call from your very childless, gay best friend who wants to go out later with you and “it”—the baby—but he’s nervous that everyone might think he’s the father ‘cause the poor kid doesn’t have one and

that’s the curse of the single mother.

You’re always left open for insult and somehow you’re always tough enough to take it and

that’s the blessing of the single mother.

It’s not ‘til much later you have time to write these things and your back is tired and your bones are tired and even your pen seems tired, but the paper is your lover and you tell it everything and you tell it how you’re terrified and how you’re probably a terrible mother but only on the shitty days and you tell it how you’ve never imagined a love so consuming and close to god as you have for this tender life sleeping in a curl next to you and you doze off exhausted to wake an hour later, around 5 A.M.

to a screech.

Teen Mom Faces Death by Stoning

Monday, October 18th, 2004

According to Iranian and foreign press, a 13-year-old girl has been condemned to death by stoning after being raped by her brother. Her brother did not receive a death penalty.

Zhila’s death sentence comes two months after the public hanging of a 16-year-old girl found guilty of “acts against chastity” in the city of Neka. Read the Telegraph story here.

Zhila gave birth in prison two weeks ago in Marivan, Iran. She is acused of adultery, but is actually an incest victim. The Iranian constitution offers women and girls little judicial protection or due process.

International pressure played a huge role in saving Amina Lawal–the Nigerian mother who had been sentenced to death by stoning was freed earlier this year.

I will never understand this murderous fear of female sexuality that seems to go hand in hand with fundamentalism of every kind. The Prophet Muhammad prohibited violence against women. By all accounts, Jesus was a non-violent peace-lover. . .

Please let me know if you have in more information on this case. There was a petition at Petions Online until yesterday, but it seems to have vanished. The International Committee Against Stoning recommends writing to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami demanding:

- Immediate abolition of stoning and all other forms of punishment for extra-marital relations;

- Immediate release of Zhila and all those imprisoned for extra-marital relations;

Email: khatami@president.ir Fax: 0098 21 649 5880

Bush Wants to "Liberate" Your Uterus

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

When my mother was pregnant with me, she would have had to go to Mexico if she needed an abortion.

I myself don’t remember life in America before Roe v. Wade.

Now I’m terrified that my daughter could come of age in a nightmare-flashback–stripped of the reproductive freedom I’ve taken for granted all my life.

When asked about Supreme Court appointments and Roe v. Wade in the second and third debates, Resident Bush spoke directly to his radical right, pro-life supporters. In coded and not-so-coded language, he promised to promote their anti-choice agenda and “a culture of life.”

By “a culture of life,” W. doesn’t mean he’ll stop sending his thugs out to recruit our kids to fight and die in this atrocious war; he doesn’t mean he’ll stop dropping bombs that terrorize and kill civilians and soldiers alike; and he certainly doesn’t mean he’ll end the death penalty.

What W. means is that his government considers your uterus to be their business.

In the Oct. 8 debate, W. made a seemingly random reference to Dred Scott—the 1857 Supreme Court decision that blacks were “non-persons.”

At the time, I figured it was the only case that popped into W.’s puny little head. Turns out that, to the Christian Right, “Dred Scott” is code for Roe v. Wade. Comparing pro-choice women to slaveholders is standard anti-abortion rhetoric. Yep, the same folks who came to occupy the White House largely by disenfranchising black voters will turn common sense on its head to justify government occupation of our wombs. Or maybe they’ll call it “liberation.” Even while claiming that he’d apply “no litmus test” to judges, W. signaled abortion opponents that any Supreme Court appointee would indeed have to pass an anti-Roe v. Wade litmus test.

Of course, it was the Supreme Court that gave W. the election in the first place. Over the last four years, decisions made by the court have systematically eroded our civil rights, environmental protections and reproductive freedom. It’s not like the Supreme Court is some liberal institution. But if W. takes the White House again, it can only get worse:

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 71.

Sandra Day O’Connor is 74.

John Paul Stevens is 84.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist is 80.

The first three have been essential in upholding Roe v. Wade.

Someone is going to retire.

And we will be up shit creek.

Fuck that.

W. wants to talk about slavery? Really? How about reparations, then?

Our Lady of Voting Rights is Pissed Off

Saturday, October 9th, 2004

Our Lady of Voting Rights is so over hearing that women, young and poor people are apathetic–that that’s why so many don’t vote. She hears them crying out: Dude . . . we’re trying!

Are these elections going to be a rerun of the 2000 disaster in democracy?

Our Lady of Voting Rights needs you!

Four years ago we had to deal with police blockades, intimidation, illegal disqualifications, faulty voting machines, confusing ballots, polling place switches, and being asked–illegally–for more than one form of ID.

This year, registration campaigns have reached hundreds of thousands of new voters, but already there are complaints that state officials in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere have been blocking those registrations in defiance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—once considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the U.S. Congress.

As far as overseas voters are concerned . . . Ug! I’ve been trying to help friends and family make sure they get their absentee ballots, but it’s become a full-time job.

The Pentagon has been diligent in its efforts to register military personnel stationed overseas, but civilians are another story. In late September, the agency began restricting international access to the Web site for the Federal Voting Assistance program–the official agency that’s supposed to help Americans living abroad register to vote. Consulates have been unhelpful. It’s enough to make even the most politically active expatriots consider giving up. Don ‘t do it! Persevere!

Keep trying to register! Get your absentee ballots in on time. In-person voters: Take plenty of time off November 2nd in case you have to deal with any bullshit. You have the right to vote free from intimidation by cops, election officials, or anyone else. You have the right to bring children into the polling place. Demand a paper ballot. Ask for a provisional ballot if your name is not on the list of voters, or if you’re required to provide identification you didn’t bring–then find out from your election official or secretary of state’s office how to follow up and have your vote counted. File a written complaint if you’re dissatisfied with the way the election is being run. Ask for another ballot if yours is spoiled or defective. If you have time, sign up as an election protection volunteer. Google search “Voters’ Bill of Rights” and your state or district name to get a state-specific list of your rights.

Here they are for Florida and Ohio.

Overseas voters–try this site: www.overseasvote2004.com. You should be able to register by fax and mail from anywhere in the world. Or this site: www.democratsabroad.com.

All voters can get more info & should be able to register at Rock the Vote.

Here are the remaining voter registration deadlines (overseas voters register in their last state of residence):

Monday October 18: California, South Dakota

Tuesday October 19: Maine

Wednesday October 20: Wisconsin

Friday October 22: Nebraska

Saturday October 23: Alabama, Guam, Illinois

Monday October 25: Vermont

Tuesday October 26: Arkansas

Wednesday October 27: Missouri, Oklahoma

Friday October 29: Kansas, New Mexico

Saturday October 30: Michigan

Monday November 1: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Wyoming

It’s the least we can do for Our Lady of Voting Rights. Good luck!

Hip Mama 10th Anniversary Issue

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

The 10th Anniversary issue of Hip Mama is finallly out the door and wending its way to subscribers through the USPS bulk mail system.

So . . . Happy Birthday to me! You know, not me, Ariel, but me, Hip Mama. It’s been 11 years since the zine was just a twinkle in my eye, 10 years since I launched it into the world as a real live zine-beyond-my-senior-project (OK, so it’s been a little more than 10 years–but since when was Hip Mama actually on time? This is the 10th anniversary issue, dammit, and I will have my cake!)

Ten years of reader-written dreams, kick-ass adventures, and hard mama truths. Ten years of trying to decide whether to pay the printer or pay my rent. Ten years that started when my kid was in preschool and–yes she is–a freshman in high school.

{as cover girl in 1997 . . . }

Ten years from the nightmare of the “Family Values” campaign to the even bigger nightmare of its designers ruling the world–folks who never, ever got up in the middle of the night just to make sure the baby was still breathing–and if you just lost your job and you never had any child support, Well, don’t be an economic girlie man!

But we are girlie men and boyish women and proud of it!

It’s the election issue, too, so I sure hope y’all get it before the election . . . not that it’s ever too late to say:

Fuck Bush.

To celebrate Hip Mama‘s anniversary (and, goddess willing, W.’s defeat), I am super-stoked to present to you The Essential Hip Mama: Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting–the best of 10 years of the only parenting mag worth the dead tree it’s printed on–featuring new & vintage art & essays by Yo Mama, Ayun Halliday, Katheirne Arnoldi, Susan Ito, Yantra Bertelli, Fern Capella, Opal Palmer Adisa, and many more!

Hope to see you at one of the upcoming events. (Portland area mamas–I sure hope you have the November 17 birthday party on your calendar!)

Until then, girlie men & mama friends–stay brave & do good work.

xo, ariel

Grace

Friday, October 1st, 2004

You are five years old when your mother marries the local Catholic priest and drags your heathen, vegetarian butt into a world of omnivorous, wine-drinking, Jesus-fans.

On their first day married, your new father gets excommunicated. Some of the kids at school aren’t allowed to play with you anymore, but a lot of your new father’s parishioners—the ones who’ve long since had it with the Pope and the archbishop—are happy to go indie with him, so your new father is a lot of other people’s Father, too.

You can share, you decide. A new father who’s a lot of other people’s Father too is better than no new father at all.

So here you are in this world of newly-indie Catholics, but they’re just as charitable and guilt-ridden as any Catholics in good standing and they’ve got little saint-plaques in their bathrooms.

They all know you’re poor, and they want to help, so you get free stuff. Lots of it. Boxes of oranges and old family cars, strange plastic toys and hand-me-down dresses.

The orthodontist down the street has come to your new father for marital counseling, so pretty soon your mouth is all wired up with hardware you don’t need.

The concert cellist across town has confessed some heinous sin in your living room, so now you’ve got cello lessons and you’re screeching away on that giant instrument, trying to smile your appreciation with your mouth full of metal.

And when the ache in your jaw from the fillings and the neck gear and the head gear and the braces (all applied to baby teeth) finally dulls, there are the dinners.

You hear your parents say you’re poor, but you must not be as poor as you were with your single mom on welfare–that, or Jesus really is showing up in the middle of the night like some fairytale elf, multiplying loaves and fishes–because now there are gads of food everywhere and don’t forget you’re a Christian now and being a Christian means no one turned away. So there’s a full table for dinner every night and not only that but you get invited all over town to eat other people’s food, too.

Picture this: an unchipped plate piled with mashed potatoes and the first slab of ham you have ever seen. It smells so much better than marinated tofu. Your mouth waters. You grab your fork, quickly glance around, but then suddenly your newly indie Catholic host says, “WAIT!”

(Your teeth still hurt a little and you’ve got Vivaldi in your head.)

Your host says: “Father should say grace!”

From the looks on the faces of your host’s kids you know this family never says a damn thing before they dig in, and your new father would never admit it, but you don’t say grace at home either, but now eveyone’s looking at your new father who’s their Father, too, and they extend their hands and you have to set down your fork and join in the circle of held hands and you think surely you’re going to pass out—you want nothing more than that salty pink ham.

“Thank you, Father . . . ” your new father begins.

And you close your eyes and thank God or Jesus or some Saint of Ham for this strange slab of food on your plate that smells like heaven and you pray for this whole grace thing to be over so you can have a bite.