Blog Archive

Thursday, August 5

Immigrants Evicted And Then Abused in Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis, France

Immigrants Evicted And Then Abused in Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis, France

If I don't follow up w/ contact information, harrass me.

Minneapolis Mosque Moving (Not A New One)

As I tried to read about plays at the Twin Cities' Fringe Festival, to see if there was anything worth going into town for, I noticed that a building owner in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis is asking its tenants (a theater and a bike repair shop) to leave and will be renting the space to a mosque.

"A mosque? Right by the train stop? That seems like a great idea!" I thought. (I feel like it's almost all Somalis who use that train stop.)

I investigated more, because I did want to read about why there would be such short notice--I mean, new churches don't generally pop up quickly in the place of open businesses. Not to mention, the article I read just left it as, "losing their space for a mosque." And that seemed too theater-versus-mosque. I wanted to know more about why the building owners were choosing whom.

Well...turns out it's not a new mosque for the community.

Just an old mosque, that it sounds like might have already had train-stop-front property.

And there might be a story of people w/o much money losing their homes to go with it--though I know nothing yet of what kind of "redevelopment" is going to happen to Riverside Plaza and the surrounding apartment buildings that so many Somalis live in. Maybe they're remodeling the Riverside apartments' main areas and doing the vacant ones or something, not razing-and-rebuilding. Another story to look into for another day. But still...not exactly awesome news, either.

By the way, the building owners in question are Sherman Associates & Fine Associates. Sherman owns the Riverside Plaza (where I think lots of the apartments are) and is not only "redeveloping" them, but putting in a new parking lot for them (which is why the mosque's old building is coming down). I think this might be partly because Fine Associates is closing parking/driveways that people who live in Riverside Plaza had been using? And then, a reason Fine Associates is going to rent their extra building to the mosque is that it saves Sherman Associates money. And Sherman Associates is willing to hold back on suing Fine Associates if they get to save money. Or something like that. (I think Fine Associates wouldn't get to close the parking/driveways if Sherman Associates tried to stop them.) I'm not sure. Something like that, anyway.

I'm sure the owners of Fine Associates & Sherman Associates are doing just fine. :-P

I hope the current residents of the apartments around Riverside Plaza get to do "just fine" or better.

I hope the new space works as well as the old one for Darul Quba mosque.

And I hope the theater & bike shop do well wherever they move to.

In Reponse To Motherhood Discussions From BFP's Blog


This comment by Alara Rogers gave me new words to describe my fear about becoming a mother.

Alara wrote:

I saw the perception that ... if mothers aren’t completely selfless and also perfect then they will ruin their child ...

This is really tied up in with both of my parents', as well as my paternal grandparents' + aunts/uncles', frequent classist statements about childbearing. "There oughtta be a way to require a license to have kids." And the "stupid" people who wouldn't get a license are almost ALWAYS middle-or-lower in class.

Now that I'm doing more leftist readings, I'm learning that most of these behaviors my family members attributed to 100% stupidity, and yet almost always pointed out in poorer people, were more likely 80% influenced by effects of poverty.

BUT, that doesn't provide me a lifetime of positive alternative models to emulate. I just read about poorer people raising kids.

Now I'm looking at having significantly less wealth & income than the rest of my family. I can't see another way about life that I can stand the thought of.

Back to Alara's quote about "ruining" my child...there's this part of me that, thanks to my parent, is aware of the upper-middle-to-upper-class escape from being completely selfless. You pay to have other people help you raise your child "right."

But...society and my parents at large definitely gave me this message that I have to be completely selfless if I'm going to raise children without enough money, to avoid "ruining" them.

Alara also wrote:
I saw the perception that ... if mothers are completely selfless then they are doormats...
So I'm avoiding having any. Damned if I know how to be selfless. (That's the other thing I learned by observation. Not being selfless. The money ensured they didn't have to do that to "not ruin me.")

Friday, July 2

I Killed An Ant

I don't deserve to wear these flowers anymore.

I picked 2 lilies from my garden to wear in my hair. Knocked off several ants & an earwig. Thought I had them all clean.

On the drive in to work, I saw an ant running frantically around my passenger seat, near the lilies. Missed one!

I refused to use my finger to pick it up. And when the one tool I had didn't work quickly & easily to pick it up & throw it out the window with, I smashed it.

I refused to let it live in a place where it might pop out of hiding one day and bite me.

I killed an ant because it might bite me one day. As if that would be the end of the world.

For crying out loud, I probably get bitten by a single ant several times a summer in circumstances I can't control as easily.

I have so much work to do on respecting animals' lives.

I'm going to wear the flowers, but I don't deserve it.

Thursday, July 1

Free Wedding Flower Materials - Hydrangeas - In Bloom

If you're getting married in Minnesota this weekend, lucky you!

Materials for fancy bouquets can be gotten for free.

Hydrangeas are in full bloom.

I'll bet a church, university, restaurant, neighbor, friend's neighbor, etc. would let you cut lots of stalks off the back of a bush. (Maybe even the front if they really like you.)

Even if you can't get many from one source, they're planted so widely that you can probably put together enough of the same variety by hitting 2-4 of the above places.

I think their leaves are okay for a backing leaf. You just have to use them as separate stalks, best I can tell.

I haven't seen any for sale at farmer's markets yet. Lots of nice stuff there, too, though.

But white hydrangeas, and a few of the blue & pink ones if you're lucky, are in abundance.

Go for it!

Wednesday, June 16

Feist Sings 1,2,3,4 on Sesame Street

Feist Sings 1,2,3,4 on Sesame Street

Posted because this video is so great!

And to boot, a wonderful one my sweetie shared w/ me recently:

Itzhak Perlman Talks ABout Easy And Hard on Sesame Street

Saturday, May 15

Cheap Camembert Cheese - Priced For Cooking

Overall, I like the ingredients I have affordable access to here.

But lately, I've been missing $2 camembert cheese.
That and $5 tasty camembert cheese.

I never thought to eat $2 camembert in France--it looked a little cheap, so if I was eating camembert, I bought the $5 wheels to ensure tastiness.

But then, I got to try grilled camembert (the rind becomes a fondue bowl for dipping bread). Holy gamole, was that fun and tasty! I'll bet $2 camembert is great for that.

Now I'm back in the States, home with friends and family who grill...and camembert is $10-$25 a wheel.

(Not to mention, many of my other favorite cheeses have now increased in price range beyond "affordable" for me. Boooooo.)

Friday, May 14

US military enforces attacks on Haitian unions

Repost of an April article by La Macha from VivirLatino:

What this is: video explaining how Haitian Unions are organizing for increased pay–and the US military is a part of the attacks against them.

A comment I like on that story from The Partisan:

Due to the weakness of the Haitian state, the US Marines are now enforcing the rules of the Haitian anti-union bosses. They are ensuring that the status-quo remains in Haiti, that unions posses little to no power. The US military is doing the dirty work of the Haitian capitalist class and its international allies that have set up shop on the island.

Earlier in April, La Macha had posted this on Vivirlatino:
This is a really important look at Haitian sweatshops post-earthquake (although it’s not explicitly stated in the video). Haitian workers are making on average, $2 a day at these shops.

Another thing to consider–the current president was a replacement for ousted president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Who helped to oust him? The US, of course. Isn’t it weird how all the presidents that we “support” think it’s best to keep worker wages just a tad above the ‘why even bother working’ line?

Please contact congresspeople, the White House, State/Defense department people, media, etc. and demand that we stop doing this.

And some other sad union stories I should've linked to a while ago but surely aren't irrelevant to the workers' lives yet:

Royal Mail:

British Airways:

Rio Tinto:
See the links at "Rio Tinto Borax Trying To Hurt Working Conditions Of Workers Right Now".

"It Sounds Like You Feel That People Are, In General, Judgmental"

I realized, while trying to explain to a therapist why I feared negative consequences if I outed my mental disability at work, that:

In bad times (e.g. I'm feeling impatient or frustrated), I am not tolerant, patient, & understanding about other people's disabilities. Physical or mental.

Saturday, May 8

Black Pople In Old Cartoons - I Never Realized That's What They Were Supposed To Be

I just figured out why I never interpreted a lot of old 40's/50's/etc. cartoons with black people depicted as having black people in them when I was a kid.

(Such as this one.) (Via this, via this.)

There's so often this weird pale area around the mouth that takes up half the face.

I associate that w/ animals. (i.e. fur stopping and skin showing)

I'm pretty sure that as a kid, I never realized those were supposed to be illustrations of people, rather than illustrations of animals w/ dark fur & light skin walking around on two feet. Badly-explained animals or something (i.e. not clear, and never indicated, just what kind they were supposed to be distortions of).

(At that age, I didn't recognize any of the geographically- or racially-"identifying" words they were speaking as such.)

Now, what I'm not sure of is whether I ever noticed that "unidentified nondescript animals" were generally in cotton-picking-and-dancing cartoons, and that activities like the ones I & my relatives did were generally performed by type-identifiable (and often light-furred/feathered) animals.


Thursday, April 22

I've Been A White Woman Playing The Role Of Expert

I realized while reading "Jezebel Circles the Wagons" by Renee over at Womanist Musings that I have been itching to do this lately:

My shoulders are tired of carrying the burden of their outright conceit. How many times has the work of WOC been stolen so that a White woman could play the role of expert?

I've been lecturing my coworker/friend a lot lately. I'm trying not to do it, but I'm really struggling with it this past 3 weeks. A lot. Like...on and on and on w/ ridiculous "expert"-ing in fun conversation at lunch. Gardening, (socioeconopolicital lefty stuff even--watch it!!!), crap I am so not an expert on--just a big collector of knowledge on.

And y'know, I tamp it down because I had enough of a little voice telling me it'd be wrong to bring up stuff I read in blogs written by women of color just because she's a woman of color...

...but now I realize it's a damned good thing I didn't, because it'd have at least 3 reasons for being the wrong thing to do to her. The "this is about you--look!" wrong thing, the "playing the role of expert" thing, and the "stealing the work of WOC" thing. Yeesh.

I plan to take this as a kick in the pants to stop "playing the role of expert" with things I stole. I think that should help me do a lot of the shutting up I've been struggling w/ these 3 weeks, anyway.

Wednesday, March 24

Rio Tinto Borax Trying To Hurt Working Conditions Of Workers Right Now

Via Jon @ Poetry Is For Assholes:

Remember when I posted about my fondness for the town of Boron, out in the High Desert above Los Angeles? Boron is in the news because the folks at the Borax mine have been locked out. Management refuses to bargain with the union unless they will concede seniority and almost every workplace practice. No surprise, the union couldn't negotiate on those terms so management locked them out.

America is being turned into a nation of rats and punks. People are so thoroughly narcotized by television that their highest ambition is to someday be allowed to kiss a billionaire's ass. I'm glad somebody is willing to stand for some kind of principle rather than blaming the immigrants or the poor people or unwed mothers or whoever they think needs kicking. If things go on this way soon we'll be a nation of Walmart employees who can't afford to shop at Walmart.

The normally unreadable Mike Davis wrote a pretty good piece on the lockout- Here

Update- The miners are represented by The International Longshore and Warehouse Union. I'd love to know the history of how the longshoremen ended up organizing so far from the water, but I can say that the ILWU is everything a union should be. Over the years I've had quite a few friends and a couple of family members who were ILWU and it is a real stand up, rank and file, solidarity based union. You can read about the lockout at the union's website HERE.

Jon also posted some YouTube videos--I'll direct you to his site for those.

I'm partway through the Nation article so far, and it's making me sad. :-( I don't know exactly what to do besides post the story on my blog. Please support the borax mine workers, at least by spreading the story, I guess.

Monday, March 22

Cyborg Manifesto Seems Hard

BFP's proposing book discussions, but wow, "Cyborg Manifesto" is difficult reading.

Without having tried and tried and tried at difficult non-fiction reading for the last 6-7 years, I don't think I'd get through this. I still might not.

But I wouldn't have had a chance if they'd had me reading this in mid-college, with the reading state I was at then.

(Come to think of it, they did assign me stuff this hard in college. And I did suck at finishing & understanding it. This work is really plodding for me. I can't believe some people can be at the place I'm at now by junior year of college. Wow. What amazing reading-brains.)

Saturday, March 20

I Had 2 Coats, And Didn't Offer A Cold Neighbor 1

I failed an opportunity to behave in a Christian manner Thursday.
I'm writing it here in hopes that I'll improve.

I ran into my neighbor on the sidewalk about 2 miles from home.

She said she was freezing. I had 2 coats. One of which was around my waist.

I decided not to offer her the coat on my back in case she "messed it up." I decided not to offer the cheap coat tied around my waist because it was my partner's and in case she forgot to bring it back for, say, a month. (I think classism influenced my imagination of what state I might get the coat back in.)

What the ****? I could have easily replaced that cheap coat if she'd lost it or brought it back in bad shape. Plus, she lives next door--I could swing by for my coat that night. This was basic freaking decency. (Not to mention a chance to have the "neighbors as friends" experience I keep craving.) What the ****?

Not to mention, Jesus's teachings were to offer her the nice coat.

I'm ashamed of my behavior, but hopefully, I will stop doing stupid, selfish, mean things like this.

Thursday, March 4

Stop Forced Health Insurance Purchases - Call!

Please call Senator Franken tomorrow and pressure him to vote against the Senate Bill, to vote against President Obama's suggestion for a health reform bill, and to stop asking his constituents to bug the House to promise to pass whatever comes out of the Senate.

Please ALSO call Representative Ellison, if you live in his area, and pressure him to vote, even in the much-vaunted reconciliation process, AGAINST anything with less than a Medicare-like public option. He promised us multiple times, Goddammit. Remind him.

TELL THEM TELL THEM TELL THEM that we, the majority of people in the US, can't afford to be forced to buy expensive crap health insurance--particularly when we could easily get nothing for all that money we couldn't afford to spend via denials of coverage on claims.

Tell them. PLEASE!

(Once you're done, if you have extra time, write a letter to a newspaper for the editorials page and tell everyone else how much this sucks.)

Where's Aniysah? - Call For Donations ($1+)

I have a call for small donations to a good cause.

Ms. Angeline Hassell needs to get legal help. Her daughter, Aniysah, is in the custody of the man who abused her (Ms. Hassell), and she doesn't feel like her daughter is safe in his full-time custody. Click here for background or read about it at

Ms. Hassell can't get legal assistance in the area because none of the legal aid offices she's found are taking new cases--no matter how much they feel like the case deserves their help.

Ms. Hassell doesn't want Aniysah to grow up wondering why Mom gave up on the fight and left her in the full custody of someone she felt is abusive (and suspected would abuse Aniysah). She wants to continue to fight to ensure Aniysah's safety, even though she'll have to pay for private legal assistance.

Ms. Hassel is asking for $1 donations.
My note: I'm sure more is welcome if you have it. But $1 is all she's asked for.

Here's how to donate.

Cash donations can be deposited into Chase Bank Account # 861329829
Checks can also be taken into any JP Morgan Chase Bank and checks should be made out to Angeline Hassell Legal, for deposit into Account #861329829.

Sorry it can't be done online; I hope it can work for you, though!

Friday, February 26

I Wish Paul Simon Had Helped Finish Out "Dance, Dance, Dance"

I really wish Paul Simon hadn't sung over this girl. I really wish he hadn't insisted on performing his song "the" right way.

I wish he had used his talent to skillfully back her up for as much performance time as he was allocated.

If he had the talent to do it, an extra level of wonderfulness would've been to keep the rhythm going but simultaneously encourage other kids to help make the song if they wanted to.

He was on a show for children. How awesome would it have been if he had spent his entire time block using his talent to help those children turn the chords & rhythm of "Me & Julio" into another really cool song?

Wednesday, February 24

I Picked Blog-Reading

Owwie! :-(

Blogosphere vs. Book vs. Chores vs. Bed

I really, really want to keep reading the internet, but my eyes hurt, my hands hurt, and I'm supposed to keep from that happening by staying off the internet. And I have to get up early tomorrow.

But the bookstore's closed, and I want new-new-new!

Plus, there are chores I should do if I'm awake.


G'nite, I guess?

Skidboot & David Hartwig

A nice video about a man & a dog & love. My partner said he wishes he lived in a world full of people like the man in this video.

Allied Commanders Trafficked Berber Women To Be Raped In Italians' Place


According to Rick Atkinson's The Day Of Battle, to "fix" the problem of Moroccan soldiers raping Italian women, American army offiicals (Wikipedia gives credit to French ones) decided to "transport" Berber women to Italy and stick them with those rapists.

They trafficked women away from home, into the vicinity of rapists, with the intention of having those rapists rape them.

What a horrific attitude: dividing populations of women into "women we don't so much hate seeing men rape" and "women we hate seeing men rape."

What a horrific attitude.

What a horrific action.
(With effects that probably weren't documented as thorougly as the effects of those soldiers raping Italians was. I think the Berbers then weren't highly literate or centralized. I guess by now, 2010, the effects just have to be...presumed via empathy.)

Tuesday, February 2

I Tried Not Taking Up So Much Space - Here's How It Felt

I want my behavior to reflect the lessons I think I'm learning from activist writers. Last night, I imperfectly tried behaving in such ways.

I had mixed emotions about the way I behaved.

I didn't get what I wanted, and I don't think that the result of me sharing power with others really resulted in progress towards a more just society like I hoped getting what I wanted would.

(How's that for a sentence?)

But gosh darn it, no matter what the outcome--no matter whom I shared power with (perhaps people more conservative than me)--I did it.

The quiet folks in the back didn't have to see me make a scene of two upper-middle-class healthy young white people in the front who've already talked all night going at it against each other for minutes on end (when there's a time limit to the whole meeting).

Maybe what I'm feeling right now--this dejected feeling that I could've done more if I'd just stood up for doing things my way--is one of the negative emotions BFP and others have said can accompany not taking up space. (Maybe not.)

But a fair life doesn't involve all joy, all the time anyway, right?

Maybe what I did last night is okay to repeat. And worth repeating.

Thursday, January 21

Donating When I Want The Money For Myself

I just made a donation that was a huge chunk of the money it would've cost to make an improvement in our house and our lives.

It's less money than I donated around late December--far less--but it's the first time I could immediately compare it to the price of something I wanted.

I don't know how we're gonna make it when we're old and working for sustenance/pay hurts a lot. Build up family relationships & fight politically for wealth redistribution, I guess. But I feel like I still don't know how, because I still really feel those ideas of "You're on your own w/ what you can grab right now."

Feeling like we don't have the money for this improvement made me feel like we were never gonna be able to "make it" as old/hurt folks.

So it was a really different mood to make a donation in.

Anyway, that said, Chris Floyd has good articles on Haiti and two links for donations that he's recommended twice now.

Afterthought: The proposal I made to my sweetie about talking to our neighbor, asking if I can be in on the appliance-sharing, too, since it's too much work for my honey to do alone, is building up relationships to make it when you don't have enough money to buy your way out of your problems! Woah! Now I feel better about that idea. I guess some resources are already here in my life.

Recent headlines from the blog "Black and Missing but Not Forgotten:"