The Lost Battalion and Bugle Corps – open thread.

TNC appears to be off long-forming it. Horde, have your say!

Standard FYI clause: My rule of thumb is that I wait for 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would usually open a thread (roughly noon, EST), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

110 Comments

  1. Earlier today, my boy called someone “trash” and spat on him for using the word “gay” as an insult.

    Minus the spit? I couldn’t be prouder.

    (Both boys got lunch detention).

    • Yeah, be careful with the spitting. Innocent people can get hit by the loogie shrapnel.

      Good that your son is standing up for other people. Just gotta remind him not to start any fights, just finish them.

    • Sorn

       /  May 23, 2012

      Please don’t hate me for saying this, but how is your son calling someone else trash for saying something ignorant worthy of praise? I understand the sentiment, and in some ways I agree, but it’s important to teach kids that people, regardless of what they say, are people. Becoming a tolerant person isn’t easy, and I certainly wouldn’t want you job of raising a little boy to be a tolerant broad minded man. However, I do feel that implicitly rewarding bigotry or ignorance, with scorn and derision adds to the problem instead of taking away from it.

      Em, let me caveat this by saying that I certainly wouldn’t want to say or imply anything about the values or the way in which you are raising your son. Only that we need to be careful that in climbing the ladder of tolerance that we don’t look down our noses at people who appear to be lower on the ladder than we are.

      • Well we talked about that, and agreed that “trash” was not perfect, and that under better conditions something else would be said, etc, and so on.

        But I am very, very proud of the impulse and of the fact that he acted on it. The other kid was, among other things, arguing that gay people make a choice to be “that way,” and it’s sick, and so on and so forth — I don’t have too much problem with my boy insulting someone for saying things like that. I just don’t. There might be more effective ways to deal with something, but every once and a while, people have to deal with the fact that their ugly behavior leads to anger.

        (And BTW, if it matters, the implication wasn’t “white trash,” because the other kid was African American).

        • Sorn

           /  May 24, 2012

          Emily,

          I want to say again that I didn’t mean to impugn anything you had said, or were trying to do. As I said it’s hard work to raise broad minded tolerant kids in a world which can be narrowminded and spiteful. I only wanted to make a plea for applying the same broadminded tolerance to those that at first glance don’t appear to deserve it. I don’t come at this from the same place most people do. My battles with prejudice, with hatred, especially self-hatred which is at the root of a lot of prejudice, are ongoing.Certainly I am more tolerant now than I was ten, five, or even two years ago, but I wasn’t always either so understanding or so ready to forgive. It’s hard to live in a world where one doesn’t quite fit, and all to often adolescents and young adults are at the mercy both of the poverty of their experience and the cruelty of the broader world. We don’t always know why people believe the things that they believe, but, looking back on my own life I can say that I wish more people had met my younger self with kindness. If they had maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to be so bitter and so determined as a younger man. All I wanted to do was to provide a bit of a perspective. As a young man I in all probably said something very similar given the severely religious nature of my upbringing and the paucity of other voices in my life before I left home. However, nobody ever had to tell me I was trash, at that age I knew things like that in my bones, and because I knew I was trash I treated other people like the garbage I thought I was.

          Certainly, I aplaud your efforts and I think that you are doing a wonderful job in instilling in your son the needed values of tolerance, and understanding towards people who society marginalizes. I only wanted to put in a plea for understanding for someone who doesn’t seem right now like they deserve it. At various points in time in our lives we were all that person, closed off by ignorance or by fear, but somehow we managed to grow. If it wasn’t for my time in the service and my subsequent experiences in college and these long conversations with all of you I might still be the uncouth savage from eastern montana I was 10 years ago. But, somewhere along the way people cared enough to listen. All I wanted to do was to point out that it’s easy to have empathy for those who we sympathize with, but that if we are able we need also to have a measure of understanding for those, who on the surface, we cannot possibly comprehend. If we look close enough we can find those same faults in ourselves that we condem in others. There but for the grace of god go we.

          I hope I didn’t offend you by posting this. The last thing that I would want to do is to offend someone who’s opinion I value so highly. Take care, and as I said I thihk you’re doing a fabulous job.

      • Also, just to be clear: I’m perfectly happy with the lunch detention. It was perfectly appropriate.

  2. Idol recap, glee recap, game of thrones and great gatsby trailers, all live at my blog, right now!
    Can’t link, I’m picking up lunch at Rays Hell Burger. Side bonus of driving boss to therapy.

    ed: Here you go:

    Idol
    Glee
    Game of Thrones
    Gatsby

  3. There’s a headline at Slate today that reads “Doctor Who Helped Capture Bin Laden Jailed For Treason.”
    I totally clicked to see how Doctor Who was involved in capturing Bin Laden, and if Clinton or Obama got to ride in the TARDIS.

    • I’d laugh except that a real doctor seems to be in real trouble. The U.S. better be doing something to help that guy: after all, he helped us.

      • chingona

         /  May 23, 2012

        I’m not sure how we expected Pakistan to react. We would do the same thing. Just ask Jonathan Pollard.

      • Captain Button

         /  May 23, 2012

        Also, that article was saying that humanitarian aid organizations are getting hassled for alleged involvement.

  4. chingona

     /  May 23, 2012

    For those who followed the saga of the missing cheese yesterday … this morning, the spot in the garden where I eventually found the cheese was considerably more dug-up this morning. I imagined the dog thinking, “Goddammit! I know I left that cheese right here. It has to be here somewhere!” Now you know how it feels, pup.

    • caoil

       /  May 23, 2012

      Poor doggie brain!

    • I missed the first installment! Please link!

    • I told my bf your story, and he asked if you’re still using the cheese. (This is l_roberts, btw. WordPress login gone wonky.)

      • chingona

         /  May 23, 2012

        You are appearing as l_roberts to me. I am not using the cheese. It was still partially wrapped in plastic, and I did consider just brushing it off and trimming the edges. But then I didn’t.

        • He will be disappointed to hear that. And I am showing up correctly now.

          • chingona

             /  May 23, 2012

            I’m still not sure I made the right decision. I kind of forced myself to throw it away. This morning, when I had no cheese for the kids’ lunches, I was sorry that I did.

  5. caoil

     /  May 23, 2012

    This month’s adventures in parents:
    The bad: Mom needed back surgery to fix her sciatica.
    The good: Surgery done, sciatica seems better.
    The bad: Post-surgical infection with super-high fever, requiring readmission to hospital.
    The good: Several days of antibiotics cleared it all up.
    The bad: Almost as soon as she got home, my dad had some sort of near-loss-of-consciousness episode that meant *he* needed to go to emerg. And then be admitted. Turned out to be an infection, though mom & my sister think he wanted a little bit of attention too.
    The good: My sister was there to be driving them back and forth while all this was happening. *whew*

    Parents…they’re so stress-inducing. ;-p

    • Just as long as everyone is healthy and emotionally balanced. Then the stress is worth it. 🙂

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        I don’t think I would go so far as emotionally-balanced for my dad. Nah, just kidding. He’s doing pretty well for a chap of soon-to-be-82, especially since he’s had a few strokes and a couple of heart attacks in the last 10-15 years. He still makes jokes when we talk on the phone. Though we have to be careful how much we discuss hockey as it tends to make him mad & then his blood pressure shoots up.

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        Though I do think my mom is made of some fairly tough stuff because this was her…7th(? not sure I’ve counted correctly, but it’s either 7 or 8) surgery for various things during her adult lifetime.

    • Parents induce stress? Tell me about it. (After I spend the morning trying to explain to my mother that Wednesday is not included in ‘weekend’.)

      • Captain Button

         /  May 23, 2012

        Does elder care induced stress fill in for the traditional “you’ll have kids of your own someday” stress bit?

        • Well, as I’ll never have kids (the two-legged kind, at least, furkids are always present) I guess it’ll have to be the elder care stress.

      • efgoldman

         /  May 23, 2012

        Parents induce stress? Tell me about it.
        I might have liked more than I had. My folks retired to FL, my dad died there, of non-Hodgkins (at 89). My mom ordered me not to go. [When my mom gave orders, you damned well obeyed – even though i was then almost 60 myself].
        My mom moved back up to Boston, and lasted about six more years (93), and just started quietly slipping away, in skilled nursing care, a few weeks before she died.
        They took this “don’t want to be a burden” thing seriously.

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      …though mom & my sister think he wanted a little bit of attention too.
      Gawd. Six months post-stroke, I never want the ER kind of attention. i’d prefer to avoid it for the rest of my life.
      Not that the after-admission kind of attention is anything to look forward to, either.

      • efgoldman

         /  May 23, 2012

        AAgh!! Emily, HELP!
        Major close tag fail!!

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        I wouldn’t either…but he’s a funny duck.

      • David L

         /  May 23, 2012

        So, what happens if I open and then close the offending tag?

        • efgoldman

           /  May 23, 2012

          Tried that, below. Didn’t work. I think it works in disqus. But then, disqus has an edit button…

    • JHarper2

       /  May 23, 2012

      When I was quite sick this January my mother went and broke her leg by slipping on ice in the grocery store parking lot. One of the people who rushed to her aid was a First Responder who would not let her get up even though Mom was sure she was fine.
      When the ambulance came, she insisted on going to the hospital where I get my treatments, rather than the closer hospital whose emerg was less backed up. She thought that would make things easier for me. Of course it took her two hours to remember that I had got her a cell phone with numbers programmed in just so I could be contacted in an emergency.
      When I got done to the hospital, I was told by her I shouldn’t have come back to the hospital as she was sure she was fine and everything would be okay.
      She had surgery the next day and was in rehab the day after. She was glad she made it easy for me to visit when I showed up with coffee every day as the hospital coffee was too weak and came once a day in small cups.
      She is fine now, just some weakness and stiffness.

    • LizR

       /  May 23, 2012

      So you’d think I’m too young for this particular type of parent induced stress (I just grew out of the negotiating paying for college stage), but I guess not. My dad also has sciatica in his hips. Apparently in the last month it’s progressed to the point where he’s been barely able to walk, unable to walk up stairs, and unable to put on his shoes by himself. For a while there he was absolutely refusing to see a doctor about a upping the pain meds and scheduling a hip replacement or other relevant surgerical interventions, or even to apply for the clearly needed disabled parking permit. He would get close and then have one day out of every five or six where the pain wasn’t so bad and decide he didn’t actually need to go in.

      He finally cracked last week and went to the doctor and applied for the parking permit. The new pain meds have switched his personality from supremely cranky and irritable to chipper, and he’s now happily plotting to use the parking permit to wage war on the travesty that is his place of employment’s lack of ADA compliance. The ADA situation there is ridiculously bad, like forcing people to take service elevators, only having ADA compliant bathrooms on the first floor, frequently locking the doors that do provide access to non-service elevators, and so on. There’s nothing my Dad loves more than a good bureaucratic fight, so this should be a nice way to occupy him leading up to any surgery that happens. But he’s not even sixty yet, and still having this type of stress about his own mom.

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        Sometimes you just want to say, oh, dads. It’s okay to ask for help! It’s okay to need help! Not everything must be weathered stoically!
        Good that his attention is now on to making some positive changes, though.

  6. Lizzou

     /  May 23, 2012

    THANK YOU to all who left me advice and recommendations for talking about teh gay marriage with my paranoid relatives!!!

  7. Any word on the Egyptian elections? I hope they are going smoothly with only minor cases of Republican interference with voters stuck using provisional ballots. Or is that here in Florida? I do get those things mixed up…

  8. To the driver with the Jesus fish on his/her van: I get that you love Jesus. I do, really, What I don’t get is why you’re in such a hurry to meet him, or so bound and determined to take as many other drivers with you as possible.

    • dmf

       /  May 23, 2012

      that’s love for you

    • JHarper2

       /  May 23, 2012

      My father was a Minister. An old girlfriend of my brother once said that you could see by the way he drove that he had great faith.

    • Captain Button

       /  May 23, 2012

      A billboard hereabouts says “Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet him.”

  9. Justin

     /  May 23, 2012

    Went to a trivia night last night, and somehow won. I’m basing this on the fact that it’s perfectly reasonable for two twenty somethings to have exceptional knowledge of famous movie quotes and 60s pop culture.

    I won a Padres pint glass. I have no complaints.

    • aaron singer

       /  May 23, 2012

      Is that pint glass larger than most other pint glasses? And while the beer in it isn’t usually excellent, it can be consistently good if drunk quickly?

    • Trivia night for the win!

  10. David L

     /  May 23, 2012

    Just had a chat at work that ended with an agreement that we would work on something that’s in the category of things upper management would never approve because they don’t understand the technology well enough to see the point of it, even though we peons feel like it’s essential for the future of this organization. (For the nerd-inclined among you, the thing is web services.)

    I haven’t felt this sneaky since a couple friends and I conspired to all have “doctors appointments” on the same afternoon back in high school.

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      Do the bosses have pointy hair?

      • David L

         /  May 23, 2012

        They might as well. This one, in particular, has an attitude that we should never write something when we can buy it. And then we spend more (wo)man hours and money getting the things he bought to talk to each other than we would have if we’d just set out to write our own.

        • LizR

           /  May 23, 2012

          This one, in particular, has an attitude that we should never write something when we can buy it.

          Oh god. Especially for a small organization that sounds awful. I’ve heard stories of vendors being something like four months behind on deadline on producing what boils down to a basic web form and then getting cranky when the organization just has someone in-house write the thing in an hour.

  11. snailspace

     /  May 23, 2012

    Yesterday’s good: Finished a kaffir lime vodka infusion. It tastes like a combo of citronella and Simple Green, but in the best possible way – citrusy, pine-y, herbal, and clean. I can’t wait to make summer punches with it as a key note.

    Yesterday’s bad: The hound was bitten by a dog he’s known for years, and who I’d have sworn liked each other, but she took one look at him and went for him like a demon. Off to the emergency vet. Where they had evacated because of a natural gas leak. An hour later, got the leaky dog in to see a surgeon, and now he’s stitched up and on pain meds and antibiotics and getting lots of extra pats and treats and love.

  12. efgoldman

     /  May 23, 2012

    Aplogies to all for the close tag fail above, Maybe Emily will fix it by the time I get home.

    EEEEDIIIIIIIIIIIT

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  May 23, 2012

      Yeah. Massive wordpress fail. I put up a post with a close-tag in there, and that had zero effect.

      Welcome to the planet of Italica!

      • koolaide

         /  May 23, 2012

        we seem to have had the same idea w/ respect to lone close tags🙂

      • …aaaand welcome home.

        • efgoldman

           /  May 23, 2012

          Thank you. I really appreciate the iced coffee and plate of [home made] cookies, also too.

    • koolaide

       /  May 23, 2012

      It is pretty amazing how that one close tag fail made everything else italics. I know nothing about such things but I’m guessing a similarly orphaned closed tag wouldn’t render all after it non-italics but I’ll but one here just for fun

    • aaron singer

       /  May 23, 2012

      I do give you props for making everyone’s posts in italics.

      • AND NOW NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.

      • efgoldman

         /  May 23, 2012

        Props i didn’t want…
        Its like when the police show up and say “I’ve never seen a pickup truck actually *up* a tree before. Hell of a job!”

  13. Captain Button

     /  May 23, 2012

    Today in idle curiosity, I saw a defunct Blockbuster video store and wondered if the term went back indirectly to the racism-exploiting real estate scam. Wikipedia says not, it come from the blockbuster bombs of WW2, which were called that because they could supposedly destroy a city block.

    So it is like the bikini, a swimsuit named after the island they tested h-bombs on. Eck.

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      There was probably a bad 70s T&A movie (redundant, i know) called Bikini Blockbuster, but I’m going home, I’m not going to look it up.
      And if there isn’t, there should have been.

  14. dmf

     /  May 23, 2012

    Book of Isaiah
    By Anne Carson
    I.

    Isaiah awoke angry.

    Lapping at Isaiah’s ears black birdsong no it was anger.

    God had filled Isaiah’s ears with stingers.

    Once God and Isaiah were friends.

    God and Isaiah used to converse nightly, Isaiah would rush into the garden.

    They conversed under the Branch, night streamed down.

    From the sole of the foot to the head God would make Isaiah ring.

    Isaiah had loved God and now his love was turned to pain.

    Isaiah wanted a name for the pain, he called it sin.

    Now Isaiah was a man who believed he was a nation.

    Isaiah called the nation Judah and the sin Judah’s condition.

    Inside Isaiah God saw the worldsheet burning.

    Isaiah and God saw things differently, I can only tell you their actions.

    Isaiah addressed the nation.

    Man’s brittleness! cried Isaiah.

    The nation stirred in its husk and slept again.

    Two slabs of bloody meat lay folded on its eyes like wings.

    Like a hard glossy painting the nation slept.

    Who can invent a new fear?

    Yet I have invented sin, thought Isaiah, running his hand over the knobs.

    And then, because of a great attraction between them—

    which Isaiah fought (for and against) for the rest of his life—

    God shattered Isaiah’s indifference.

    God washed Isaiah’s hair in fire.

    God took the stay.

    From beneath its meat wings the nation listened.

    You, said Isaiah.

    No answer.

    I cannot hear you, Isaiah spoke again under the Branch.

    Light bleached open the night camera.

    God arrived.

    God smashed Isaiah like glass through every socket of his nation.

    Liar! said God.

    Isaiah put his hands on his coat, he put his hand on his face.

    Isaiah is a small man, said Isaiah, but no liar.

    God paused.

    And so that was their contract.

    Brittle on both sides, no lying.

    Isaiah’s wife came to the doorway, the doorposts had moved.

    What’s that sound? said Isaiah’s wife.

    The fear of the Lord, said Isaiah.

    He grinned in the dark, she went back inside.

    II.

    There is a kind of pressure in humans to take whatever is most beloved by them
    and smash it.

    Religion calls the pressure piety and the smashed thing a sacrifice to God.

    Prophets question these names.

    What is an idol?

    An idol is a useless sacrifice, said Isaiah.

    But how do you know which ones are useless? asked the nation in its genius.

    Isaiah pondered the various ways he could answer this.

    Immense chunks of natural reality fell out of a blue sky
    and showers of light upon his mind.

    Isaiah chose the way of metaphor.

    Our life is a camera obscura, said Isaiah, do you know what that is?

    Never heard of it, said the nation.

    Imagine yourself in a darkened room, Isaiah instructed.

    Okay, said the nation.

    The doors are closed, there is a pinhole in the back wall.

    A pinhole, the nation repeated.

    Light shoots through the pinhole and strikes the opposite wall.

    The nation was watching Isaiah, bored and fascinated at once.

    You can hold up anything you like in front of that pinhole, said Isaiah,

    and worship it on the opposite wall.

    Why worship an image? asked the nation.

    Exactly, said Isaiah.

    The nation chewed on that for a moment.

    Then its genius spoke up.

    So what about Isaiah’s pinhole?

    Ah, said Isaiah.

    A memory fell through him as clear heat falls on herbs.

    Isaiah remembered the old days, conversing with God under the Branch

    and like an old butler waking in an abandoned house the day the revolution began,

    Isaiah bent his head.

    A burden was upon Isaiah.

    Isaiah opened his mouth.

    A sigh came from Isaiah’s mouth, the sigh grew into a howl.

    The howl ran along the brooks to the mouth of the brooks

    and tore the nets of the fishers who cast angle into the brooks

    and confounded the workers in fine flax who weave networks

    and broke their purpose.

    The howl rolled like a rolling thing past slain men and harvests and spoils

    and stopped in a ditch between two walls.

    Then Isaiah unclamped his mouth from the howl.

    Isaiah let his mouth go from the teat.

    Isaiah turned, Isaiah walked away.

    Isaiah walked for three years naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered
    to the shame of the nation.

    All night you could see the Branch roaming against the sky like a soul.

    III.

    Isaiah walked for three years in the valley of vision.

    In his jacket of glass he crossed deserts and black winter mornings.

    The icy sun lowered its eyelids against the glare of him.

    God stayed back.

    Now Isaiah had a hole in the place where his howl had broken off.

    All the while Isaiah walked, Isaiah’s heart was pouring out the hole.

    One day Isaiah stopped.

    Isaiah put his hand on the amputated place.

    Isaiah’s heart is small but in a way sacred, said Isaiah, I will save it.

    Isaiah plugged the hole with millet and dung.

    God watched Isaiah’s saving action.

    God was shaking like an olive tree.

    Now or never, whispered God.

    God reached down and drew a line on the floor of the desert in front of Isaiah’s feet.

    Silence began.

    Silence roared down the canals of Isaiah’s ears into his brain.

    Isaiah was listening to the silence.

    Deep under it was another sound Isaiah could hear miles down.

    A sort of ringing.

    Wake up Isaiah! said God from behind Isaiah’s back.

    Isaiah jumped and spun around.

    Wake up and praise God! said God smiling palely.

    Isaiah spat.

    God thought fast.

    The nation is burning! God cried pointing across the desert.

    Isaiah looked.

    All the windows of the world stood open and blowing.

    In each window Isaiah saw a motion like flames.

    Behind the flames he saw a steel fence lock down.

    Caught between the flames and the fence was a deer.

    Isaiah saw the deer of the nation burning all along its back.

    In its amazement the deer turned and turned and turned

    until its own shadow lay tangled around its feet like melted wings.

    Isaiah reached out both his hands, they flared in the dawn.

    Poor flesh! said Isaiah.

    Your nation needs you Isaiah, said God.

    Flesh breaks, Isaiah answered. Everyone’s will break, There is nothing we can do.

    I tell you Isaiah you can save the nation.

    The wind was rising, God was shouting.

    You can strip it down, start over at the wires, use lions! use thunder! use what you see—

    Isaiah was watching sweat and tears run down God’s face.

    Okay, said Isaiah, so I save the nation. What do you do?

    God exhaled roughly.

    I save the fire, said God.

    Thus their contract continued.

    IV.

    When Isaiah came back in from the desert centuries had passed.

    There was nothing left of Isaiah but a big forehead.

    The forehead went rolling around the nation and spoke to people who leapt to their feet
    and fled.

    If the nation had taken Isaiah to court he could have proven his righteousness.

    But they met in secret and voted to cut him off.

    Shepherds! Chosen ones! Skinny dogs! Blood of a dog! Watchmen all! said Isaiah.

    Isaiah withdrew to the Branch.

    It was a blue winter evening, the cold bit like a wire.

    Isaiah laid his forehead on the ground.

    God arrived.

    Why do the righteous suffer? said Isaiah.

    Bellings of cold washed down the Branch.

    Notice whenever God addresses Isaiah in a feminine singular verb something dazzling is
    about to happen.

    Isaiah what do you know about women? asked God.

    Down Isaiah’s nostrils bounced woman words:

    Blush. Stink. Wife. Fig. Sorceress—

    God nodded.

    Isaiah go home and get some sleep, said God.

    Isaiah went home, slept, woke again.

    Isaiah felt sensation below the neck, it was a silk and bitter sensation.

    Isaiah looked down.

    It was milk forcing the nipples open.

    Isaiah was more than whole.

    I am not with you I am in you, said the muffled white voice of God.

    Isaiah sank to a kneeling position.

    New pain! said Isaiah.

    New contract! said God.

    Isaiah lifted his arms, milk poured out his breasts.

    Isaiah watched the milk pour like strings.

    It poured up the Branch and across history and down into people’s lives and time.

    The milk made Isaiah forget about righteousness.

    As he fed the milk to small birds and animals Isaiah thought only about their little lips.

    God meanwhile continued to think about male and female.

    After all there are two words for righteousness, Isaiah could not be expected to untie this
    hard knot himself.

    First the masculine word TSDQ, a bolt of justice that splits the oak in two.

    Then in the empty muscle of the wood, mushrooms and maggots and monkeys set up a
    livelihood:

    here is (the feminine word) TSDQH.

    God grave the two words on Isaiah’s palms.

    God left it at that.

    And although it is true Isaiah’s prophecies continued to feature eunuch cylinders and
    clickfoot woman shame.

    And although it is true Isaiah himself knew several wives and begot a bastard son.

    Still some nights through his dreams slipped a river of milk.

    A river of silver, a river of pity.

    He slept, the asters in the garden unloaded their red thunder into the dark.

    • mythopoeia

       /  May 23, 2012

      As I am in the midst of a long, slow, barely-comprehending read through the book of Isaiah, I really appreciated this. Thank you.

      • dmf

         /  May 23, 2012

        very good, she is an excellent writer on many subjects and I would recommend any of her works.

  15. Neocortex

     /  May 23, 2012

    Got back from the NATO summit protests in Chicago yesterday. I was a medic there, from Friday through Monday.

    Anyone who says that the cops were peaceful is full of it. Anyone who engages in false equivalence between the cops and protesters is full of it. Anyone who says that the protesters were as a group violent or vandals or looking for escalation is full of it (there weren’t even as many isolated instances of such as I would have expected under the circumstances). I watched 50 or so marchers chant “Don’t touch the cars” in unison to shame somebody who was bothering a car stopped in traffic.

    Anyone who says that the problems were all the fault of the black bloc is also full of it. I was with them for almost the entire CANG8/IVAW march. They were looking to be a protective barrier for other protesters, not to start a fight.

    Here’s a story, from the police attack after the CANG8/IVAW march.

    There was the hot area where beatings were happening. There was a park down the road where my medic buddy and I (and other medic teams) were taking serious casualties. Next to the park was a barricade, and behind the barricade were a couple hundred backup riot cops (CPD and Illinois Staties). We had to go by them when we went to and from the park. We were physically supporting this guy between us, who had a broken rib, possibly something cracked in his shoulder, mild shock, other injuries. As we took the guy by the backup riot cops behind the barricade, 100+ cops, in total unison, went “Awwww!” They were smiling. Some of them laughed. Then they went “Awwww!” again, and laughed a bit more. They did this four or five times in a row (the whole time we were taking the guy by them). I was calm before and after this, but during it, I was so shocked that I almost started crying right there in the street.

    Here’s another story, from later on that evening. There was a guy who was thought to be an undercover or plainclothes cop (he had a baton) in the crowd. People were angry about the violence of that day and the day before, and got hostile and confrontational with him very quickly. I and two of the other medics escorted him across the crowd to the police line and safety. The cops out there that day might be inhuman. But I am not.

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      Those who forget history (1968)….

    • watson42

       /  May 23, 2012

      Thanks for the news from Chicago. My sister lives in the Near Eastside area and told me on Saturday it was like the area was on lockdown – police and other security people everywhere, barriers, road restrictions, the many, many police boats on the water, etc. She mentioned the CPD weren’t being exactly polite even in days leading up to the summit. She was seriously creeped out (and angered) by it – and she lived in NYC in Sept 2001 and its aftermath.

      • Neocortex

         /  May 24, 2012

        Yeah, the security was crazy. Cops with batons and other gear on most of the stations within the Loop (I really hated going back to my host’s house and having to be on the platform with them). Cops detaining, questioning, even cuffing people, because they thought they looked like protesters. Cops searching medics’ bags. Cops raiding the houses where livestreamers were staying.

        Walking alone on the street made me paranoid, with all the cops around. I was afraid of getting detained. Or grabbed off the street. Or assaulted. I was glad that my host’s place was away from the downtown area, even if it meant it took longer for me to get downtown from there.

  16. MAYBE IF YOU’RE TRYING TO PRINT YOU SHOULD TRY HITTING PRINT ON YOUR COMPUTER.

    headesk

    • After five minutes of watching him struggle, I forced him to give me the print job. It was too ugly.

    • That type of day, eh?

      • Other things I wanted to holler:
        IF YOU CANNOT FIGURE OUT THE BYPASS TRAY ASK SOMEONE!

        IF YOU CANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO JUST PRINT ONE PAGE AT A TIME WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

        WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO PRINT PAGE TWO ON A SEPARATE PAGE WHEN THE DOCUMENT IS ONE PAGE LONG?

        WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO PRINT A LETTER SET FOR FORMAL LETTERHEAD ON THE INFORMAL LETTERHEAD AND THEN WONDERING WHY IT LOOKS FUNNY?? AN ADDUNEDUM–PRINTING THE NONEXISTENT PAGE TWO ON PLAIN PAPER WILL NOT HELP THIS PROBLEM.

        sheesh!

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      Ya know what else? Once you click on the printer icon, you should wait around until the little “print” window pops up, and not walk away to get lunch.
      [someone I know very, very well does that from time to time, and then wonders where his fcking document is.]

      • Don’t forget, please pick up your docs because no one feels like flipping through all the pages on the printer to find theirs because you were too lazy to walk 25 feet down the hall.

        • efgoldman

           /  May 23, 2012

          Aaargh. Today. Colleague of mine ran a report, 100 pages++. Two copies (and it wasn’t even our department’s job).
          It was a large (obvsly) Excel spreadsheet, except…. it was copied into our proprietary record- keeping software, in which you can’t edit images (she was actually printing an image of the spreadsheet, not the ss itself).
          She works on a computer all day, has been for a decade or more, and is about as software-literate as the average spider monkey.
          Of course, the first time she printed, she ran it in portrait, so the last two columns printed on (100++) extra pages….
          I just can’t continue. Don’t want to raise my blood pressure. I almost wished i still smoked, so i could go outside for a butt.

    • Coworker blue screen of death?

  17. chingona

     /  May 23, 2012

    What I’m about to write is somewhat disturbing, related to pregnancy and mental health issues. I don’t know if it merits a trigger warning or not, but consider this the warning.

    On the scanner this morning, there was a call about a pregnant woman having some sort of breakdown in public. She was screaming, hitting her abdomen, yelling “I don’t want this,” and then ran away from the people that tried to check on her. When people talk about needing an allowance for late-term abortion in cases of threat to the mother’s health, and they include mental health in that, they aren’t talking about cases of being a little blue or a little stressed. They’re talking about cases like this woman, and others like her who are just as distressed, even if they are breaking down quietly and in private. I’m not saying she necessarily needs or should have an abortion. I feel pretty confident she needs significant intervention and that her pregnancy will have implications for the type of intervention she gets. (Do the drugs doctors would otherwise prescribe cause birth defects? Will the drugs and/or therapy be less effective as long as she is pregnant and subject to the associated hormonal changes?) Neither am I saying that late-term abortion presents an easy, open-and-shut situation morally and ethically. But when people dismiss “mental health” as just some excuse to get out of your “responsibility,” they are dismissing this woman and her pain. I really hope she is able to get whatever it is that she needs to find relief.

  18. koolaide

     /  May 23, 2012

    Hordesourcing my food options:

    It appears that my CSA farm is having a bumper year of onions. Many more than last year. I don’t tend to eat onions that often. I’m not a fan of them raw (in salads or sandwiches) nor do I tend to like them cooked on their own (like fajitas). I don’t mind them in soups/stews. Trouble is, I don’t cook soups/stews in the summer. So…

    How can I prepare the onions that might like them that isn’t a soup/stew?

    • caoil

       /  May 23, 2012

      Do you like tomatoes/tomato sauce (and are getting a suitable amount of those too), that you could make up some large batches of tomato sauce and can them?

      • caoil

         /  May 23, 2012

        Sorry, koolaide, that was not a very well planned out sentence. :-/ I meant to imply that you could perhaps fry or caramelize the onions (and other veggies) and then cook up some sauce. Then you could do a big round of canning.

        • koolaide

           /  May 23, 2012

          I will also cop to not being all that great in the kitchen. I can feed myself but I’m no chef. And I’ve never canned. I’ve made jam (w/ my mom) but never canned.

          • caoil

             /  May 23, 2012

            Hm. What I like to do sometimes is chop up potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and onions, drop on a few pats of butter, cover it with foil, and bake for …eh, probably 35-40 minutes on something close to 400F. Of course, you have to have your oven on, which you might be trying to avoid.
            I think one or two of the ‘Clean’ recipes I had last year involved onions. If I remember when I get home, I’ll come back & give it to you.

      • koolaide

         /  May 23, 2012

        It isn’t quite tomato season here so no fresh/local tomatoes. I do like tomatoes and tomato sauce.

    • I don’t like raw onions either, but I find that after you marinate them in vinegar or salad dressing for a while they’re much more palatable. Sorry I can’t offer any mega-onion recipes.

    • chingona

       /  May 23, 2012

      What about fried onions as a garnish? A lot of onions cooks down quite a bit.

      I use a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, and she calls for using them on top of various dal (lentil) recipes, but basically, you slice them in 1/4 inch slices and fry them until golden brown in a lot of oil. Drain on a paper towel. They can be stored for later once they cool.

      I agree with the pickling/marinating suggestion.

      Other than that … maybe make onion soup even though it’s summer?

    • MightBeLying

       /  May 23, 2012

      Caramelized onions and mushrooms as an accompaniment for steaks on the grill. Tastes like summer!

    • Dex

       /  May 23, 2012

      I guess I’m not 100% certain what “on their own” means, as a fajita has multiple other ingredients and the onions are a garnish, so feel free to ignore this recommendation…

      Yucatecan pickled onions are bloody amazing. They’re cooked twice to mellow them out and speed the pickling process. Add vinegar and a bunch of spices and they are easy and delicious. You parboil them once, then drain, then bring them to a boil with the flavoring/pickling ingredients. My guess is this would remove some of the onion-y sulfurous quality that you may not like. The recipe calls for mellower red onions, but I would also try it with white onions if you’ve got those as well.

      Here’s the recipe:
      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Yucatecan-Pickled-Onions-242142

      n.b.: I tend to add a little sugar and also tend to add more spices than what it calls for. It’s a very forgiving recipe and you should adjust to taste based on your preferences.

      I recently made a double batch and then just threw them in jars where they will keep in the fridge for quite a few weeks. Awesome as garnish for burgers, dogs, tacos, gyros, pretty much anything that you put stuff on.

    • efgoldman

       /  May 23, 2012

      Its obvious.
      Hang them from your belt.

    • Let’s see…you don’t like them raw. Or cooked. Have you thought of hucking them at passing cars?

      • koolaide

         /  May 23, 2012

        I don’t dislike them cooked if they’re in small pieces and not the feature/primary ingredient of the dish. Onions in chili/soup/stew? No problem. Onions in meatloaf? No problem. For whatever reason, my mouth does not appreciate large pieces of onion (as in fajitas).

        I will most likely end up giving most of the onions away.

      • This made me laugh right out loud.

        Also: Planters. If one didn’t mind the smell, the could be made into wee planters.

    • Katryzna

       /  May 23, 2012

      Onions can be carmelized and then baked in a savory quiche.

      You can chop them and put them on pizza, not as an addition but as the main topping.

      You can bake them into an onion casserole.

      You can make a hobo stew with onions, hamburger and green pepper and whatever else you want to throw in.

      You can bake or grill them with butter and a beef bullion cube. (Quarter them almost all the way, through, put the butter and cube in the center, and wrap with aluminum foil. Now put on grill or in oven.)

      You can slice them and slice some cucumbers and put them in a sweet vinegar to soak. They should float in the sweet vinegar. Refrigerate so that they get cold and serve as a side.

    • caoil

       /  May 23, 2012

      http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2855
      I’d recommend chopping the onions up quite small, if you don’t like the texture of large pieces.