Archive for July, 2005

Employed

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

Lo and behold . . . the child is employed!

She’s wanted a job for I can’t tell you how long.

At first I put her off. I’d started working so young and later decided that the work was part of what screwed me up. The paper routes at 4 a.m. The ads for babysitters in the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner that landed me in San Jose with the creepy single dad and the prostitute sometimes-step-mom and the kid who wanted only to watch interviews with serial killers. He was 8. I was 12. We weren’t afraid of the rats in the house.

Later I tried to help her. I showed her how to write cover letters, resumes. She filled out applications, waited by the phone. Weeks passed. Months.

At some point a light bulb must have brightened in her mind. My mom is helping me to find a regular job. My mom hasn’t had a regular job since the Reagan administration.

Ding.

So she started asking her friends who DO have jobs. And it turns out that here now in our town cover letters and resumes and applications and waiting by the phone are SO YESTERDAY. That’s not how you get a job. What you do is you call the youth employment center. You show up for their orientation. You show up for their training. You wait for your appointment with Kenny. Kenny asks you where you want to work. You say Nordstrom. Kenny says forget it. You’re too young and anyway you don’t have any retail experience. He doesn’t care if your mom worked at Nordstrom once, after the creepy single dad got super-creepy. She was older then. And those were the ’80s. Those were like, ancient history, man. Next thing you’re going to tell me that your great-grandmother worked at the May Company. (She did). Ancient history. And anyway both of them were older. So here are your options: Dairy Queen or the taco shop. You know you don’t want to be a DQ girl and the taco shop doesn’t sound that much better so you say Thanks, maybe I’ll call you when I’m older. But when you’re out on the curb a few minutes later you get to thinking: I really don’t want to be a DQ girl, but maybe, just maybe, I could work at the taco shop. Minimum wage is seven-dollars-and-something. I don’t really like tacos and that’s good. Everyone who worked at Baskin Robin’s says it ruined ice cream for them. The taco shop could only ruin tacos. And so you call him back from your cell phone. You tell him you’ve thought about it. You were MADE to work at the taco shop. Kenny says he’ll set up an interview for you. Four o’clock on Thursday. You show up. On time. But the manager doesn’t seem like he was expecting you.

You say, I have an interview?

He scratches his head. Hmmm. Kenny sent you?

You smile. Yes, Kenny sent me.

He nods. Well, good enough. Any friend of Kenny’s is a friend of mine.

Next thing you know you’re wearing the taco shop uniform. You get two dress code violations oin the first day, but no matter. You’ll wear jeans without holes starting tomorrow. You’ll wear close-toed shoes. Promise.

And now you’re clearing tables. You’re serving lemonade. You’re scooping salsa out of buckets. Tomato paste out of buckets. Ground beef out of buckets. Shredded lettuce out of buckets. You’re rolling tortillas that will be deep fried and become some menu item you can’t remember the name of. You’re scooping beans out of buckets. Cheese out of buckets. Lard out of buckets. Shredded chicken out of buckets. And you know what?

It’s damn satisfying.

Or at least the paycheck is something to look forward to.

Missing

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

It’s summertime, so stories of missing kids and young adults are everywhere, terrorizing mamas and highlighting the overt racism in the American media.

Stranger or dangerous relative/acquaintance abductions are very rare, but each year about 200 children are kidnapped by strangers, about 4,000 are abducted by someone outside the family, and about 300,000 go missing with a parent.

Fifty percent of abduction victims are age 12 or older, two thirds are female, and–contrary to what you’d gather by watching TV–about 30 percent are people of color.

When a friend’s daughter disappeared, she called 911 immediately and then, in the few minutes she was waiting for the cops to show up, quickly cleaned the house and put on some make-up and a nice middle-class outfit that hid her tattoos. People do wacky things when they’re stressed out, but her reaction was actually fairly logical. If your kid goes missing, you want to be telegenic. (The kid came back without mom having to get on the news, but you never know when you’re going to need that sea-foam green blouse).

If you’re white and upper-middle class, you’ve got a major head start with the media, but if they want to ignore your story for any reason, PUSH IT. CNN (including Nancy Grace) has finally started helping with the search for missing Philadelphia mama Latoyia Figueroa after pressure from progressive bloggers and the establishment of a reward fund (I donated. Did you?).

If you don’t think your kid (or girlfriend or brother . . . ) has simply slipped out to smoke a cigarette, you’ve got to convince the cops of this and, fucked up as it is, you’ve got to convince reporters that you are of a clas that “matters” to the media. (If your kid HAS snuck out or run away, or if you don’t know, of course you should also call the cops. Nothing like a swat team showing up at the park to gently remind your kid to LEAVE A FREAKIN’ NOTE NEXT TIME. Also call the national runaway switchboard at 1-800-runaway).

If your child has been kidnapped by a parent you think is dangerous, PUSH the cops and the media to take the situation as seriously as they would a stranger abduction. Statistically speaking, violent fathers and mothers are much more dangerous to their children than strangers.

So here’s what to do if a kid goes missing. Notably, if you suspect a predator abduction, you are the one who has to call the FBI.

If you want to get kind of freaked out, you can input your zip code here to get a list of the registered sex offenders in your neighborhood.

Missing Philly Mom

Monday, July 25th, 2005


Latoyia Figueroa

The Philadelphia Citizens Crime Commission, with the help of a Philadelphia blogger, have launched a reward fund for information leading to Latoyia Figueroa, a 24-year-old pregnant mother who has been missing since July 18.

Figueroa went to a doctor’s appointment with a male friend that afternoon, police said, but did not show up to retrieve her 7-year-old daughter from day care later that day.

Stephanie Stephenson, a relative who raised Figueroa after her mother was killed when she was a toddler, said that Figueroa, five months pregnant, left the friend’s house in west Philadelphia “and disappeared.”

Her cell phone has gone quiet since she has been missing, and her bank has recorded no transactions.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Philadelphia Southwest detective division at 215-686-3183

From the All Spin Zone:

Missing Pregnant 24-Year-Old Mother Alert (Non-White Division)
TO: Ms. Nancy Grace, Headline News / CNN Host

Dear Ms. Grace,

Latoyia Figueroa is still missing after 8 days.

Here’s an overview of the important details in this missing woman case:

1) Latoyia is not white.
2) She does not have blonde hair.
3) She was not scheduled to get married last weekend.
4) She’s from West Philadelphia.
5) There may actually be a lead or two in her case.
6) HER UNBORN BABY, HER UNBORN BABY, HER UNBORN BABY.
7) To the best of our knowledge, no one from Texas has yet offered to bring in cadaver dogs to search for Latoyia, nor have forensic dive teams volunteered to scour the Schuylkill or Delaware rivers.
8 ) Also to the best of our knowledge, the FBI hasn’t been requested to participate in the investigation (even though Philly actually is in the US of A), nor have any DNA samples been rushed to Washington, DC. . .

Sincerely,

Richard

Indestructible

Monday, July 25th, 2005

I’ve long preferred the company of people who’ve been through hell; who’ve experienced the worst-case-scenario. (Not the almost-worst-case-scenario, but the actual worst-case-scenario). I used to think this was because there was something in a wounded soul that made it seem smarter or more interesting to me and that, as such, my preference indicated something a little twisted in my personality. But today I realized that the people I am drawn to, the ones who have really walked through the fire, aren’t wounded. Having been totally annihilated by life, they are on intimate terms with that part of themselves that cannot be destroyed. No fear, man.

Good Advice for Young Trendy People of All Ages

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Wow! One of the sharpest minds and trash connoisseurs I’ve ever known – Jennifer Blowdryer joins forces with some very weird friends to bring forth the scariest reality survivor show you’ll never see on TV.
–Jello Biafra

Excerpts . . .
Eviction
If you’re getting evicted, do nothing for twenty-four hours. When I’m getting evicted, I dress casually for my date with Housing Court, and whine to the management company. You cannot fight with people who don’t mean well. They will fight back meaner, longer, and harder. Whining is good because it delays everything; it can buy you that crucial minute. A street fighter once told me a good trick is to say, “OWWW,” really early in the fight, so your opponent will think you’re already hurt bad and might go lighter on you. A friend suggests saying you’re Billy Idol’s drummer–hard to disprove.

–Jennifer Blowdryer

Carry Through on Even the Craziest Ideas
You might be sitting at a bar with a friend discussing Teletubbies and you might say, “Wouldn’t it be fun to dress as a drunken Teletubby and visit various toy stores throughout the city?”

Or you might be discussing the commercialization of Christmas and your friend might say, “It would be great fun to dress as a pregnant Virgin Mary and go to various fancy hotels trying to get a free room on Christmas Eve!”

A true Art Star wouldn’t just talk the talk, they’d walk the walk, and the next day they’d go out and have a Teletubby or a Virgin Mary costume made. Or they would make it themselves, and they’d make these ideas a reality. Art Stars live in the land of show-me.
–Reverend Jen

Dangerous Wannabes
At some point in your trendy life, somebody will want to be you. Perhaps their youth was not tortured enough, or they were tortured in the wrong way, and they are not enjoying your modest success. It’s just like in this movie you should see, All About Eve. These people will compliment you winningly, and that will progress quickly to shadowing you. It’s kind of nice to have a flattering little shadow around, isn’t it? But watch out. It’s not just that they want to become you, but that they don’t want there to BE a you anymore. Ironic, isn’t it? But so are most human machinations.

–Jennifer Blowdryer

Get all the advice from Jennifer Blowdryer, Reverend Jen, Alvin Orloff, Mistress Daria, Clint Catalyst, James St. James, Pamela Holm, Moonshine, Erno, Nate, Princess Kennedy, Zeon, Sami Formo, Phillip R. Ford, Regi Alsin, Bucky Sinister, Lynn Breedlove, Sherilyn Connelly, Myke; Board, Brother Man X, Jane King, and Me here!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

Feast Day: July 16
Symbol: Scapular
Color: Brown
Associated with: Obatala

As a teenager, Simon Stock lived in a tree. This was back in the 12th century, so they didn’t try to put him on Ritalin. He composed poems to Mary & carved her names in the trunk & branches of his home, became an interent preacher & Carmelite mystic.

On July 16, 1251, he was holed up in his cell, depressed over the oppression of the Carmelites, and reciting one of the poems he’d written while tree-sitting.

Bing! His cell filled with a radiant light and there appeared Mary, surrounded by angels and holding the infant Jesus. In her free hand, she held a brown scapular & presented it to Simon, saying, “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your order; it is the special sign of my favor which I have obtained for you and the children of Mount carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit will be preserved from eternal fire.”

So don’t die without it!

But what do you eat on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?

Allison Crews Soul Sister Rebel Mom

Thursday, July 14th, 2005


Girls like me have raised presidents. We’ve raised messiahs and musicians, writers and settlers. Girls like me won’t compromise, and we won’t fail.
–Alli Crews, August 26, 1982 – June 11, 2005

A month after the death of Allison Crews, finally this answer from the coroner: She suffered a seizure caused by Wellbutrin.

* * * * *

Wellbutrin (bupropion, Zyban) is an antidepressant. How it works is unknown even to its makers.

Red flag.

It is the third leading cause of drug-related seizures and was withdrawn in 1986 because of an unacceptable incidence of seizures. It was released back onto the market by the FDA in 1986 for unknown reasons.

You can get Wellbutrin at free clinics and from many doctors–very few questions asked–but Wellbutrin is a hard-core drug with a long list of warnings and counter-indications.

DO NOT USE WELLBUTRIN IF YOU HAVE EVER HAD A SEIZURE OR AN EATING DISORDER. People who are bulimic are at a very serious risk of seizure. Alcohol increases the risk of seizure, but quitting drinking suddenly can also increase the risk!

Wellbutrin is prescribed for quitting smoking as well as for depression and ADD, but if you use it with a nicotine patch (or even if you use it alone), your blood pressure can skyrocket.

Wellbutrin and many other antidepressants are no longer approved for kids under 18. But if you’re not that much older than 18, you’d also be wise to think twice. Hell, I took it at age 28 and had a serious allergic reaction: Trouble breathing, throat closing, super-fast heartbeat, and the one and only psychotic episode of my life.

Folks take Wellbutrin to feel better–to relieve symptoms of sadness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, loss of interest in daily activities, tiredness, insomnia, thoughts of death, and smoking too much. However! Side-effects can include:

Sadness
Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
Loss of interest in daily activities
Tiredness
Insomnia
Thoughts of death
Suicide ideation
Anxiety (which can make you smoke more)
Dry mouth
Skin rash
Sweating
Ringing in the ears
Shakiness
Stomach pain
Agitation
Sore throat
Frequent urination
Tremors
Hostility
Irritability
Impulsivity
Mania
Allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; hives)
Dizziness
Drowsiness
Trouble sleeping
Muscle pain
Nausea
Fast or irregular heartbeat
Violent behavior
And seizures

At some point you’d rather be smoking depressed without an attention span.

If you’ve got some heavy shit going on in your life–as many depressed people do–Wellbutrin can intensify everything, especially when you first start taking it, if you take it sporadically, or if you double dose.

* * * * *

So, this is an answer. It doesn’t make things any better. But at least it’s an answer.

night falls like people into love/ we generate our own light to compensate for the lack of light from above/ every time we fight a cold wind blows our way/ but we learn like the trees/ how to bend/ how to sway and say/ i, i think i understand what all this fighting is for/ and i just want you to understand that i’m not angry anymore
–ani difranco

Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

LOOK!

Crazy-gorgeous love-warrior Inga Muscio has a new book . . . Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialistic Society is OUT NOW!

Excerpt:
Why does it just so happen that almost every U.S. street, building, and landmark that isn’t named after Rosa Parks, Pocahantas, Cesar Chavez, or Martin Luther King, Jr., is named after a white person?

Is it some kind of bizarre coincidence that superficially portrayed, good and noble white people are almost exclusively the gods and heroes of U.S. history?

What kind of culture names its federal police headquarters after a virulently racist, homophobic, closeted cross-dresser, who was responsible for the deaths and/or ruined lives of thousands of men and women who dared to dream of a better world?

Why’s it considered perfectly natural for elite white alpha-dog-eat-dog concepts such as “survival of the fittest” and Manifest Destiny to so seamlessly serve as the basis for–and justification of–our economic, spiritual, political, and emotional lives?

Without a connection to history, folks tend not to address any of these highly interesting queries, and there’s plenty more where they came from, believe you me.

Dig deep into any moment of history, and I can guarantee your sense of truth, justice, humanity, and the “American” way will be confounded, if not irreparably sundered.

We remain ambivalently apathetic towards situations that presently lash us into poverty, racial and sexual violence, unemployment, lack of health care and education, corporate sprawl in our communities, a voluminous commercial industrial prison complex, legalized lynching, bigotry, baseless jingoism, Guantanamo torture camps, as well as needless wars and over 250 military occupations brought on by the whims and lusts of the Lucky Sperm Club.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – A teenager was jailed for nine days after being accused of burning an American flag on the Fourth of July. He faces trial next month.

While the case could test a state statute against flag burning – an act the U.S. Supreme Court has said is protected under the First Amendment – prosecutors say Andrew Elisha Staley has yet to argue that he was exercising free speech rights. (Earth to Andrew: Argue free speech rights).

“Bottom line is, the kid got drunk,” said Lisa Lee, his mom.

His father said the teenager “has no reason for anger against the United States” and could easily have ignited a garbage can instead of a flag. “He was brought up in church, and he knows right from wrong,” Doc Staley said. (Your kid who was not brought up in church doesn’t know shit, just in case you were wondering).

Doc Staley said his son has been “floundering around” since dropping out of high school. “This is where the drinking came in. And he’s not very good at it,” the father said.(A good point! Kids: If you are going to drop out of school and drink, get good at it! Drink up and then start yelling “free speech! U.S. out of my testicles! I am a pacifist!” This also might help a bit later when they are trying to drag your un-graduated, drunk ass into the military.)

Andrew was released from jail Thursday on his own recognizance while he awaits his Aug. 2 trial on charges of desecrating a venerated object, underage drinking, littering, evading arrest, burning personal property and theft.

Ah, Independence Day.

Thank You

Thursday, July 14th, 2005

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out to Big Mama’s Church of Christ the Girlie-Man to hear the Mambo Queens & Caroline Casey et al. Rad Love.

Sit, be still,and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.

–Rumi