Thursday July 28 , 2016

Archive for October, 2006


Ah, Halloween. My second favourite holiday when I was a kid, turned favourite holiday in University, turned second least favourite holiday after having kids.
To get even with society, I went from dressing up as a sexy kitten/mouse/slut-on-wheels (I once wore roller skates with a black slip and fishnet stockings to a party – very awkward for dancing) to dressing up as my Mother, my husband’s Mother-in-Law, my kids’ distant Grandmother. I focused on her early-70s high school librarian look (as in – 1970s). Mostly because I had in my possession, one of her two wigs from that era. Medium brown, medium curls – totally and frighteningly unnatural looking. It screamed FEMINIST BALL BUSTER!!! even in Halloween lighting.
Today, I’m not dressed up – although I did reflect on my Forum – – that I could go as “upside-down-red-turban-girl” on account of I bought a grey skirt and two red sweaters at the Sally Ann yesterday. My idea is to wear the skirt on top, one of the sweaters on bottom, and the other sweater wrapped around my head. A little over-applied lipstick, my drugstore reading glasses worn ascew (sic?) – and Voila! I’ll be all set to give out candy at our office – which is in a house and which has more little kids dropping by than does my apartment – which has none.
And speaking of kids, as soon as mine weren’t… too little – as in, the last one was in school – they went out Trick or Treating around the townhouse/condo development near our house. ALONE. THREE KIDS. ALONE. Filling their little plastic “Halloween Cat” bags with candy. One trip around the condos and the bags were full. Which worked well because my kids could make three chocolate bars last a year. And if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s Halloween candy left over from last Halloween being added to this year’s haul.
Heavens! I can only steal so much of their candy before I get a canker! Bratty kids…
Meanwhile, updating things a few years – I was just at a bookclub night (we reviewed “The Mermaid Chair” – stock “Ya Ya Sisterhood” female characters, stock “Harlequin” dialoge, unbelievably well written passages detailing the emotions felt by the husband and lover – both – as the main character had an affair/attempted to leave her marriage) and one of our members said, “Should I let my son Trick or Treat alone this Halloween?”
“How old is he, now?” I asked (thinking… hm… he’s STILL going out for Halloween…?)
“He’s 12″, she replied (straight-faced).
Okay. I know. Weird. But what’s weirder is that another member actually said, “Well, I don’t know. Is he going with more than one friend? Because I won’t let my son go out without his Dad keeping watch unless he goes with TWO friends. Just one friend isn’t enough.”
Granted, this is out in the ‘burbs where all the paedophiles lurk, but still. 12?! I’d worry more that my son would start fantasizing about killing the old man so he wouldn’t be trailing him around to Halloween frat parties while he’s at University than that he was going to be lured into a passing car by a stranger offering actual chocolate bars – as opposed to the mini ones everybody hands out every year.
Uh… if you’re a paedophile, you didn’t get that “actual chocolate bars” tip from me…
I mean, I hate to be one of those “back in my day” tail-end boomers, but – GEEZ LOUISE!! Back in my day, as soon as you were in Kindergarten – you were on your own come Halloween. If that meant you didn’t dare go past the neighbours on each side for fear of big kids stealing your candy – so be it. Pretty much the last thing anyone expected to see was someone’s Dad standing on the corner while some kid Trick or Treated. In fact, I bet such a Dad would have been beaten to death by the other Dads – just on principle. Maybe even by the neighbourhood Moms. Who knows?
He certainly wouldn’t have been invited to drive over sometime for a few drinks, that much is for sure. And I doubt any of the neighbourhood dads would have sent his kid out with us to the corner store to buy smokes, either.
But nowadays, the Dads hanging back at the sidewalk while their sons and daughters (and I’ve had girls as old as, I dunno, 35?! – dressed as Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera Trick or Treating at my door with their Dads – at least, I *think* they’re their Dads – hanging back at the sidewalk) Trick or Treat are as common a sight as ghosts and witches and Jasons.
I dunno. Our kids are gonna have some pretty warped memories of Halloween, if you ask me.
Hilariously, they’ll probably be of their Dads hanging back at the sidewalk while they Trick or Treated their way through high school…


Men R Us

Do you hear it? That low, steady whining sound?
It’s men. Angry white men of the Right. Why are they angry? They’re white. And they’re men. Of the Right. Angry white men of the Right. Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Take what, you ask?
Human rights for others. That’s right. Oh, no. There’s been no eroding of THEIR rights. No, no. But there HAS been, over the years, thanks to Feminism (i.e. – Women’s Lip) – an elevation in the rights of others. Apparently, THAT is very threatening to the angry white men of the Right.
VERY THREATENING. And bad. Bad for civilization as we know it. Or – as our forebears knew it, at least.
Now, I hate to tie everything in with the War on Terror, but I’ve noticed the same pundits who blame Feminism for all that is wrong in the West, are also big supporters of the War on Terror. It seems like a bit of a contradiction to me – supposedly wanting to bring to the Muslim world that same freedom what destroyed your own. Unless, of course, that isn’t what the War on Terror is about at all. And, as most of us know, it isn’t.
OR – unless that is the hidden genius of the War on Terror. Exporting Feminism to destroy the Muslim world. “Take Our Freedom – please!”
But what’s funny to me is that these angry white men of the Right can’t see that it’s not the fault of Feminism that their centuries of privilege, years of being the only people in society with unassailable rights, made them weak. These things happen over time. Others (i.e. Women) had to fight for THEIR rights. They weren’t just handed to them by birthright. And it was a long hard struggle. We became wily, devious, sneaky. And better arguers. We had to become all that or we’d still be at the mercy of the dullwitted, brutal, fascist Patriarchy.
I mean, what is it about a level playing field that is so threatening to angry white men on the Right? Cripes, I bet if women way back when had known that’s all it would take – a level playing field – to reduce angry white men of the Right to an impotent rage, they wouldn’t have tried so hard to win equal rights under the law in the first place.
But they did. And we’re here now. The clock isn’t turning back. My suggestion to the angry white men of the Right?
Get over it, Girlfriend.


Math Problem

I try not to involve myself in my children’s lives. I know, I know. I’m supposed to attend school council meetings and meet the teacher nights and comment back on their computer generated report cards.
But I don’t do any of that.
When I was a homemaker and they were in elementary school – which only went up to grade five in our neighbourhood – I went to school council meetings. But only because we were constantly fighting a school closure battle with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the meetings were fun. I wrote whole articles on the subject for the Ottawa Citizen – netting probably close to $500.00 for my efforts.
Ah, school closures – those were the days. Back when Mike Harris was Premier of Ontario and busily racking up a huge deficit while his supporters (the idiots who had voted for him) would gormlessly stick to the mantra, “Well. At least he did what he said he was going to do.”
Oh. Really? I don’t recall him campaigning on the promise that he would rack up a huge deficit while simultaneously raiding the public treasury to dole out gobs of cash to his buddies. But it’s true. I do forget things. Yesterday I even forgot my home phone number.
Anyway, back to school. Two of my kids, the girl kids, are doing badly in math. Neither of them should be. In fact, one of them should be doing extremely well. So, in spite of my best intentions, I ended up having to phone a math teacher. A high school math teacher. Male AND French. (Not to imply that the “white niggers of North America” – oh, i forgot, “male and French AND a separatiste” – are not my favourite people to have to deal with in solving a problem of what should be of mutual concern but what soon proved to be of a pretty one-sided concern, as in – only I was concerned – he was completely indifferent to the point of arrogance and rudeness.)
You may not know this, but in today’s condensed high school curriculum, students are expected to know math already. Because the teacher really doesn’t have time to cover the curriculum for the students who already know math AND teach it to the students who don’t.
That, apparently, is what tutoring is for. Tutoring, I was informed, being that thing people pay for in order that their children learn math because the teacher doesn’t have time to teach it to them himself. But perhaps I can better explain it by just typing out our phone conversation here:
“Madame, you daughter’s mark is low because she does not know how to do math.”
“Yes. I’m not concerned about her mark, though. I’m concerned that she doesn’t know any math.”
“Madame, I have to cover the curriculum. I have no time.”
“You… mean… you have no time to *teach* the math.”
“Madame, I post the test. All the answers are there. I do not know why your daughter did not get a good mark.”
And so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc including an observation by the teacher that OTHER students, students who were GOOD in math, were doing WELL in math. Not being very good in math, myself, I neglected to point out that THOSE students probably accounted for his soaringly high class average of 70%.
In any case, I find myself still reluctant to get too involved in all of this, my point being that learning to deal with assholes is an important part of life and if my daughter is going to be the best lawyer in the country…
Also, I’m pretty sure it’s the legal secretary who handles all the billing.
Once again with feeling – “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be secretaries…”


Sheikh This Out

I read this article today:
Now, we’ve all read a thousand or so articles just like this one in the past few years, but today I thought, “Why?”
Why are we always reading articles about the silly things Muslim Clerics say?
I mean, surely Muslim Clerics have always been there saying this and that. Cripes, they talk sometimes as if they pre-date Sister Time, herself. So why do I find myself in a constant state of irritation having just read the latest opinions by a Muslim Cleric on how women should have to live their lives? I know, I know – 9/11 happened. But so what? Why does the fact that 9/11 happened mean that every Muslim Cleric who has some Koranical view of how women should have to live their lives – get to have his crazy backward views delivered to me here in Ottawa?
It’s not as if this isn’t practically a daily thing, either. So, okay. Enough already. We know what Muslim Clerics think. Why do I have to re-read their thoughts every Gawddamned Day.
Still, it’s crossed my mind that even the Muslim Clerics are a little surprised at all the media attention they are garnering. Afterall, I’m sure they used to say much more backward things than they’re even saying now. It’s just that no one knew or cared that they were saying them.
No one Non-Muslim, anyway. And probably a goodly number of Muslims living in North America, too. Or right under their noses, even. When was the last time we heard from “the average… Mohammed”? Never? Because I talk to the odd Muslim right here in Ottawa and, so far, I’ve only heard back, “So… that’ll be $7.50…”
I’ll cut to the chase. I think we’re hearing from these Muslim Clerics because it’s in the interests of the media to keep this whole War on Terror party going and there’s nothing better’n a Muslim Cleric to get everybody up dancing. What better way to keep people engaged than to report the outrageously sexist and mind-blowingly anti-democratic utterances of guys wearing black hats? Eh? I ask you? BLACK HATS!! Doesn’t your blood boil just a bit every time you read the latest “veiled threat” made by a Muslim Cleric wearing a BLACK HAT?! Doesn’t it make you think, “Gawd. The War on Terrorers are right. These guys do hate our freedoms. Look at all those BLACK HATS!!”
And I guess they do. Hate our freedoms. Although, certainly not the freedom to access our media every frickin’ day to say the same gawddamned thing they said the day before. I mean, I can’t even get a letter to the editor published – me, a fifth generation Canadian (white, too – although… a white WOMAN… on the left…) – and these guys, cripes, these guys can say anything and get a whole page of ink and several issues of follow-up outrage.
Oh yes, the chase. Well, here it is. I think if we heard as much from Christian Fundamentalist Clerics and Orthodox Jewish Clerics and Wiccan Clerics – our blood would boil right over and it would be hard to focus on the real enemy – the Muslim Clerics. And the War on Terror would spiral right out of control back onto US. (Isn’t it weird how US is just U.S. without periods? You’ve got to wonder if the Four Fodders did that on porpoise.)
So I wonder. Say the media closed its doors to Muslim Clerics. Would the Islamic Fundamentalist menace just disappear? You know, like, if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one there to hear it – does it make a sound?
‘Cause like I say – I wonder.
Anyway, I’m not reading any more Muslim Cleric utterances. I know the drill. But there is a Christian Evangelical leading the free world and a Christian Evangelical picking up after him so I’ll take that extra mind space and worry more about their utterances. They’re just more relevant to me, I guess. And you, too, I expect.
Even if you’re a Muslim Cleric.



I read bits of the Globe & Mail (Canada’s leading newspaper, as it calls itself, for all my international readers) this past weekend and, as per usual in these times of terror, there were a few articles about The Muslim Menace. The weren’t titled “The Muslim Menace”, of course. But they may as well have been. I mean, really. If there isn’t a Muslim Menace out there – why the hell are we in a War on Terror?
Anyway, since it’s sort of, kind of, politically incorrect to go on and on about the ongoing and neverending threat of Islamic Fundamentalism perched on the other side of the world, its tentacles reaching out across the miles to deposit pods of evil everywhere amongst us here in the socially progressive, peace loving West – the Globe was focusing this past weekend on The Burka.
Now, I’ve read articles by men (always men) on the right of our political spectrum (some might say on the right of Attila the Hun’s political spectrum) and although these men believe in modest apparel for White Western Women (one of them even seeming to believe that modest apparel on girls will prevent homicidal paedophiles from commiting rape/murder) – they are offended, nay – frightened – by The Burka.
I’m not afraid of The Burka, myself. Although, I am afraid of some of these rightwing scaredycats having their way on uniforms and I’ll end up having to pay for my kids to wear some Japanese animator’s dream come true of an outfit while they sit in class wondering why they should have to learn math when the President of Harvard says there’s no point in trying because only boys can learn enough math to become President of Anything.
When I see a woman wearing a Burka – and she is inevitably wearing it while shopping in the grocery store – I think, “I wonder if she’s wearing that Burka by choice…” and continue shopping. Like Michael Ignatieff and the Lebanese civilians killed in that whole war crime episode – I don’t lose any sleep over it. And I certainly don’t lose any sleep over it because *I’m* afraid. I worry – a bit – about what this other woman’s life is like and whether or not she’s aware of her right here in Canada to NOT wear The Burka. But I don’t lay awake at night worrying about her, either.
Now, I don’t for a minute buy the Muslim argument that The Burka is anything other than oppressive. Even their denials are proof of oppression because the reasons for women wearing The Burka come out of The Koran. And The Koran, like The Bible, is patriarchal. In the extreme. Both Holy Books are patriarchal. Women do NOT do well by religious texts. They just don’t. The Burka being the least of the oppression.
But this past weekend I read an article that contained this passage:
“Chapter 34, Verse 30 of the Koran reads, “believing women should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; they should not display their ornaments except as normal.” According to Hamida Ghafour, The dispute among Muslims ever since is the question of what “except as normal” means.”
Uh… okayyyyyy. What about a dispute over what “display their ornaments” means? ‘Cause that’s what I want to know. What the hell does “disply their ornaments” mean? If “ornaments” mean what *I* think they probably meant back when men were men and women gave birth in stables – isn’t The Koran talking about… boobs? I mean, I’m just asking. It seems to me “display their ornaments” is the key phrase here. Not “except as normal”. Or am I just being an infidel whore? Again…
In any case, if that passage is what all this fuss is about “except as normal” when “display their ornaments” is hanging right out there, too, so to speak – we’ve got a long way to go, BurkaBaby.