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Flaming mice and annoying people

Random rant for the morning:

Today while looking at Technorati, I saw that the most popular link of the day was to this story. It’s about an elderly man in New Mexico who found a mouse in his house, took it outside, and threw it into a pile of burning leaves. The mouse, now on fire, ran back into his house and managed to set it on fire, destroying it and everything inside of it. Holy shit, right?!? Luckily, no one was injured.

Now, I understand linking to such a crazy story. But so many of the blogs I saw basically said, well, serves him right, he got what he deserved. What the fuck?!? Yeah, what he did was cruel, but what 81 year old man deserves to have his entire house and all of his possessions burnt down for killing a mouse? As if none of those people would kill a mouse if they found one in their house. Maybe they’d choose more “humane” methods of killing it, but come on – would they then deserve to stumble upon a gigantic sticky board and either starve to death or be yanked off, much of their hair, skin, and perhaps a few limbs coming off in the process?

Next time those people kill a roach or bug in their homes, I hope a huge shoe comes out of the sky and smashes their homes and everything in them.

Blogging resolutions, and two quickies

So, we’re a little bit into the new year now. The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer, as I’ve decided that this year I’m not going to make new year’s resolutions. Instead, I’m going to have new year’s notions – non-binding thoughts about what I’d like to do differently this year.

A few of those notions have to do with blogging. Since starting this blog I’ve been modestly but steadily growing my readership and getting more links, which is great – thanks, y’all, for reading! But I know I need to keep putting in in order to keep getting out. So, my blogging new year’s notions: keep blogging, frequently and regularly, about a good range of topics; keep up with responding to comments and adding to my blogroll; and engage with folks on their blogs, instead of just reading, thinking “hey, that’s really good stuff,” and not giving any feedback. Hell, I might even get my personal blog back up and running at We shall see.

So, in the spirit of my new year’s blogging notions, two quick things that I’ve been meaning to blog for days:

La Mala pointed me in the direction of this article on Indymedia about the plans for a federally-mandated plebecite on Puerto Rico’s political status. I really appreciated the entire article, but one thing that piqued my own personal interest: it tied the struggle for Puerto Rican self-determination to the similar struggle that has been going on for centuries in Ireland. It also told me something that I never knew – that Pedro Albizu Campos, arguably the most important figure in Puerto Rican nationalism, supported and was actually involved in Irish republicanism. As a bit of a gaelophile who is especially interested in and inspired by Irish successes and continued struggle against British imperialism, this was a pretty neat thing to learn.

And one last quickie: Pat Robertson recently aimed his rather loose cannon on Ariel Sharon, declaring that his recent ailments are the direct result of his contribution to the “division of God’s land” or some shite like that. Interestingly enough, the Bush administration was quick to condemn Robertson’s comments as “wholly inappropriate and offensive.” Oddly enough, I can’t seem to recall a peep coming from the administration when Robertson decided to endorse the assassination of another foreign leader, President Hugo Chavez. Funny, that.

Leaving on a jet plane

Well, my girlfriend and I are about to escape NYC for sunny Florida, to spend Christmas and the first couple days of Chanukah with my family. While I am in complete and utter support of the strike and the TWU, I’m also relieved to leave the madness for a little while.

I hadn’t heard until today that Bloomberg had called the transit workers “thuggish.” How disgusting can you get? This kind of inflammatory, racist and classist rhetoric, along with this obsession with the word “illegal” when talking about the strike, is just infuriating. And the mainstream media is, of course, playing along very well. From so many of the reports I’ve heard or read, you’d really think that most of the city hates the union and is against the strike, when really, it seems like the papers and the news shows are working really hard to find the most outrageous, virulent opinions and put them in the spotlight.

Roger Toussaint wrote an open letter to Bloomberg in response to the “thuggish” comment and other issues. It’s an excellent response. I especially loved this part which speaks to the whole issue of the “illegal” strike:

But what about our conducting an “illegal” strike? What about the law? You are all over the media with high-minded talk about “illegal” behavior, castigating criminals and screaming that no one is above the law. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You must hope everyone has forgotten your biography: “Bloomberg on Bloomberg.” You boast on Page 59 on how you started your rise to great wealth, great enough to enable you to buy the Mayor’s office twice. You set up your office “…all without permission, violating every fire law, building code and union regulation on the books.”

I guess illegality is in the eye of the beholder. A confessed lawbreaker has the gall to lecture 34,000 hard working people whose only crime is standing up for their families and for dignity and respect on one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs in New York.

Right on, Toussaint.

La Mala over at Mamita Mala makes similar points about how the media (FOX News, specifically) has bought into the whole “illegal strike” hysteria:

… don’t ya think it’s a little incendiary for the logo regarding the strike to read ILLEGAL TRANSIT STRIKE.

I mean when is the last time they put up a logo saying ILLEGAL POLICE BRUTALITY or um ILLEGAL SPYING BY U.S. GOVERNMENT? Hmmm?

Holy schneikies, there’s a transit strike!

I tried to stay awake last night for the news on whether there’d be a transit strike here in NYC, but fell asleep at around 1am. After all, if there wasn’t going to be a strike, I’d be getting up and out at the same time as usual this morning. So I missed the announcement, which apparently occurred at around 3am.

I woke up this morning to my girlfriend’s clock radio, from which we dcoculd hear talk of the strikes. Part of what we heard before she hit snooze: Mayor Bloomberg calling the strike “morally reprehensible.”

Now, yes – the strike is gonna suck for many, many New Yorkers, probably primarily NYC’s working poor, and not least of all the transit workers themselves. But, morally reprehensible?

Bloomie, I can think of many, many things in this city that are morally reprehensible. And you and your ilk are at least partially responsible for many of them. But it’s just plain wrong to attempt to demonize legitimate and important union tactics in the eyes of the NYC public. Strikes are a necessary evil borne of the much larger evil of worker mistreatment. The fact that employers (like the MTA) won’t act right towards their workers without being strongarmed – now that’s morally reprehensible.

On a side note: in this morning’s statement, Bloomberg said, “Let’s show our determination by walking, cycling or carpooling, to get to work and school.” Now, maybe I don’t know much about these things, or else I’m just a bad capitalist, but wouldn’t it make infinitely more sense to encourage folks whose jobs aren’t crucial to someone’s survival (I’m thinking doctors, nurses, firefighteres here) to stay home? To work from home if that’s at all possible, but if it isn’t, wouldn’t it be good to encourage businesses to declare a snow day of sorts, with absolutely no penalties to employees who couldn’t make it into the workplace without jumping through flaming hoops? I keep hearing about all of the transit and traffic nightmares that are about to ensue because people simply must get to work, and I wish that we didn’t live in a society in which the capitalist, money-making show simply must go on, come hell, high water, or no subways.

More on the strike:

  • mole333 and bouldin have good takes on the strike and ther surrounding issues over at the Daily Gotham.
  • My friend Mickey was talking about the strike in his livejournal today and had these good things to say in response to folks who are all down on the TWU folks:

    think good thoughts for the TWU, losing two days’ pay for every day on strike and standing on picket lines in 25 degree weather in a stiff wind. every time i hear someone blaming the union for this strike, i remember this picture of my mom, with my then 3-year-old sister sitting in her lap, on a picket line looking at her check, which was $3.42 for the month. like they would strike if it weren’t fucking important.

Thoughts on two very different films

This post, and the next one I’m about to write, have been lingering for days. I feel like I’m posting all sorts of outdatedness, due to the busyness of life right now. Ah, well.

King Kong
It was (white) beauty killed the (black) beast…?

So, Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame has remade King Kong, as most of you probably know. And it’s been getting all sorts of rave reviews, or at least, most of the reviews that I’ve caught have been raving.

But, ever since I first heard about the film, I’ve been a little nervous. I’d never even seen the original King Kong in its entirety, but what I knew of it was enough to inspire some worries. Let’s see… a big, dark, savage ape falls in love with an extremely white woman, wreaks havoc left and right, and is taken down in the end? Hmm… do I smell a thinly-veiled, dubious racial subtext here?

Apparently, others agree, both about the racial subtext of the original and the carrying on of the tradition in Jackson’s remake. From the Village Voice review by J. Hoberman:

Jackson doesn’t really solve King Kong’s “native” problem—nor can he. The original was as much a symptom as a movie—the most extravagant cinematic expression of white supremacy made in America since The Birth of a Nation and perhaps the most delirious imperialist fantasy ever. Lose the spectacle of the white woman at the mercy of a savage horde and you lose the movie, although in keeping with Skull Island’s decor, Jackson recasts the indigenous people as a mob of slavering aboriginal zombie orcs.

So, my question is: come on, Peter Jackson. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but every time I see your undeniably racialized depictions of Uruk-Hai and Haradrim, I kind of hate myself for loving it. What’s with your penchant for taking old, racist source material and retaining the worst of it? I understand and appreciate being true to the text, but does truth to the text trump being a wee bit less fucked up, especially when, by now, we should know better than Tolkien and the makers of the original King Kong?

Luckily for me, whereas I have a sustained love for and addiction to the LOTR movies despite the racial fuckedupedness, I have absolutely no interest in sitting through the 3-hour long tragic romance between a giant ape and a white girl.

Now, on to a tragic romance that I was very happy to sit through, and will most certainly purchase when it comes out on DVD: Brokeback Mountain.

the hottest gay cowboys in the world

I loved it. It was amazing and heartbreaking and beautifully shot. And, on top of all of that, it did not disappoint on the hotness factor. I love me some Jake Gyllenhaal, but Heath Ledger surprised the hell out of me with his excellent acting. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for those of you who have not gotten to see it, but I will recommend that you do get to seeing it ASAP.

Yet another reason to hate FOX

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate FOX…

the cast of Arrested Development

They’ve gone and cancelled Arrested Development, which I would put right up there with Desparate Housewives as one of the best shows currently on network television. (I can’t talk about cable since I haven’t had it in years.)

Those bastards!

WARNING TO DESPARATE HOUSEWIVES FANS: definite spoilers in the comments. Beware, if you haven’t seen last night’s episode yet!