Archive for January, 2011

The new pole ... nice, heh?

It’s been a while since I wrote on island life, and with today providing such a classic example of a Monday on the rock it seems an opportunity to make up for the lack of slice-(wrists)-of-life posts.

As my dear friend, Gay, insists, it’s never easy, but it is worth it, and I’m happy enough to agree with her on this, the last day of January, 2011.

The morning began at 6, as it usually does. The routine goes something like this: drag my ass out of bed, make tea, glean the house for all the bits and pieces that are to go to school with the kids, brush teeth, check mail, shower, then do the drive to town, after which I’ll work for a few hours while sporadically enjoying this fab view from the veranda where my computer sits between me and said view.

The routine took a few hits today though since 1) the cooking gas had run out, so making tea was interrupted, 2) the Internet connection was up and down more than a politician’s zipper, and 3) there was no water, so so much for the shower.

Thankfully … very thankfully … I have David here for a few weeks, a man who goes by many titles … Lovely Dave, Handsome Hunk, He’s Helpful (That one from Cj), Cuddle Champ … and Mr. Fixit. He began collecting hero points before 6:15 when he found a gas bottle that actually had gas in it and connected it up in plenty of time for my tea and his coffee.

A stop at the water tank showed damage from a large part of a large tree falling down and pulling pipes out. Dave managed to stop the outflow and round up a part that needed replacing, so after dropping the kids at school we found a plumbing shop that had some version of said part. Unfortunately, it turns out that’s not the only issue, but I’m sure he’ll have it all sorted once he’s back from repairing a completely separate plumbing issue at Gay’s house. (Bonus hero points for that.)

In the meantime, a PUC water crew showed up after only ONE call, diagnosed the problem with the tank and rigged up a temp connection that has the water flowing to the house again so showers can happen.

And then …

a PUC electric crew of about 25 guys pulled into the garden avec a brand spankin’ new power pole they installed in all of about 15 minutes … and I hadn’t even had to call them as they were sent at the behest of yet another PUC electric crew who’d done an emergency repair last week that set me up with power to the house in a temp fashion, then dropped by yesterday to see if I’d manage to get the bloody lines repaired. I hadn’t, so they took matters into their own hands and are apparently sorting it out to be sorted out, starting with a new pole.

Now, I know I do a whole lotta bitchin’ on this blog about the trials of island life and about men, but I am very happy to give credit where it’s due. It is sometimes the case that work seems to happen with glacier slowness, people don’t show up when promised and one can find oneself power/water/phone/Internet challenged for days or weeks on end. The breakdown crews, however, can be wonderful, go above and beyond and I happily tip my hat in their worthy direction.

As for men, I have made no secret of the fact that I really do adore the gender in general. Okay … they can confuse, very often frustrate and sometimes break my heart, but all-in-all I’m in favor of them.

In actuality, I’m a big fan. Not only are they mighty handy, some are truly blessings … especially those that cook.

(Thanks, David. You’ve earned some beach time today.)

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Inventive women …

A question came across my desk this morning, and after yesterday’s post on how useless I am concerning the practical matter of fixing things I thought I’d give this a bit of a follow.

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common?

A. All were invented by women.


Sure, some things attributed to the ingenuity of women may seem a bit girly … chocolate chip cookies, disposable diapers, ironing boards and the rolling pin, for example … but many are pretty damned butch and far more useful than just making it easier to keep things tidy.

It was a woman, Tabitha Babbitt, who in 1812 invented the circular saw and Stephanie Kwolek who came up with Kevlar, the steel-like fiber used in radial tires, crash helmets, and bulletproof vests, in 1966.

Women also invented street-cleaners, lamps and telescopes for submarines, the rotary engine and the medical syringe; all handy items the world would be less without.

It comes as no surprise at all, when you think about it, that it took a woman to think of such things as mufflers for engines, as guys are happy enough with big noises that can be translated to mean “power”, or that electric hot water heaters came to mind, then fruition.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to track the results of womens’ genius back very far. In the US, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that women were allowed to own a patent, so when they did produce strokes of brilliance the credit had to be given to some guy, often a husband, to get the whatever recognized, protected and produced.

We’ll probably never know how many women inventors there were. That’s because in the early years of the United States, a woman could not get a patent in her own name. A patent is considered a kind of property, and until the late 1800s laws forbade women in most states from owning property or entering into legal agreements in their own names. Instead, a woman’s property would be in the name of her father or husband.

For example, many people believe that Sybilla Masters was the first American woman inventor. In 1712 she developed a new corn mill, but was denied a patent because she was a woman. Three years later the patent was filed successfully in her husband’s name.

This brings to mind the perspective that still exists in far too many minds and cultures that the female gender is somehow less than, a weak and wobbly stance supported by statements that go something like:

So … if women are do damned clever and equal, why was all the great stuff in the world produced by men?

Double-barreled, that, as Virginia Woolf so elegantly pointed out in her essay, A Room of One’s Own where she brilliantly illuminated dark corners where women were relegated rarely allowing personal and financial freedom to create much of anything other than a slew of children.

Woolf’s ‘invention’ of Shakespeare’s sister rather shot the whole notion of women-as-inferior in the foot for the reasonable:

In one section, Woolf invented a fictional character, Judith, “Shakespeare’s sister,” to illustrate that a woman with Shakespeare’s gifts would have been denied the same opportunities to develop them because of the doors that were closed to women. Like Woolf, who stayed at home while her brothers went off to school, Judith stays at home while William goes off to school. Judith is trapped in the home: “She was as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school.” Woolf’s prose holds all the hopes of Judith Shakespeare against her brother’s hopes in the first sentence, then abruptly curtails Judith’s chances of fulfilling her promise with “but.” While William learns, Judith is chastised by her parents should she happen to pick up a book, as she is inevitably abandoning some household chore to which she could be attending. Judith is betrothed, and when she does not want to marry, she is beaten and then shamed into marriage by her father. While Shakespeare establishes himself, Judith is trapped by the confines of the expectations of women. Judith kills herself, and her genius goes unexpressed, while Shakespeare lives on and establishes his legacy. For Woolf, Judith Shakespeare is an exemplification of the danger and waste in denying women education and the means to determine the course of their lives.

“A Room of One’s Own” is, by the way, a book I buy for almost every young woman I know, as it’s required reading as far as I’m concerned. Aside from providing a great name for a Smith’s song and a band, the thoughts and words conveyed in go a long way toward giving girls some context and encouraging growth in quite a few generations already.

I should probably be sending as a companion edition some how-to-it manuals and tool kits …

So, maybe I can’t fix my door handle or re-electric the hoogygidgets that aren’t doing what they should, but this has no reflection on the capabilities of women in general … and me individually … to change more in the world than a light bulb.

Not that I’m not bloody grateful for the stuff in my house that now works better than it did a week ago, and I’m quite happy to give credit where credit is due.

(Thanks, David.)

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Service animal?

Yeah, yeah …

We all know I live on my own with two little kids, a situation that has many ramifications, one of which involves the fact that I’m a complete incompetent when it comes to fixing most stuff that always bloody breaks so end up having quite a few things around that don’t work they way they were originally meant to.

At the moment, I have a non-functioning oven, no inside handle on my front door, a few light fixtures that are now just fixtures, a mess of broken slats formerly known as Cj’s bed, a puny wire hanging dangerously across my garden supplying a bit of electricity, and … well … other stuff that I’ve become so used to not working that I hardly even notice any longer.

If you think I’m in any way proud of the fact that I can’t repair squat you’re off the mark, because I really do wish I had some passing familiarity with what a drill can do and the difference between a wood screw and a masonry bit. Actually I’m a wee bit pleased with being in possession of the knowledge that there is a difference between a wood screw and a masonry bit. (Do NOT ask me to describe what that might be, however.)

I detest being so bloody girly that power tools freak me out and hand tools have only proven to be very effective weapons against myself. I can guess why my father never took it upon himself to teach me jack about any of this … him being an impatient man and me having the upper body strength of a sparrow most likely had him thinking just getting on with it would be SO much easier than trying to explain the proper way to begin a saw cut to his only daughter and my childhood happening in a time when people still assumed such a thing as “man’s work” and “women’s work” and some wisdom in the division.

Whatever …

It’s ended up that shit breaks, I don’t have the foggiest how to fix anything and I live in a place where hiring people to do so just ain’t easy.

I’m prompted today by broken stuff and a photo I came across to consider the concept of “service animals” in relation to my situation. No, I’m not handicapped in any of the serious senses of such a label, but I’m thinking maybe we should move beyond the idea of guide dogs and helper monkeys to things bigger and more powerful with opposable thumbs.

One of the best friends I’ve had in my life was an adult male oran utan, and thinking back on him now I have no doubt he would have been happy enough to take a hammer to a broken bed and could have easily strung electric cables WAY up high through the trees between my meter and my house. Sure, getting his huge fingers into the little divot where the oven pilot light sits would be tough, but some stuff would be a breeze, like changing bulbs beyond my reach and removing large branches that might fall on the roof.

Of course, there would be issues of training and care, but … sheesh … that’s just part of it, isn’t it? Animals are trainable … well, some animals … and what the heck? If they can help a frail and girly human like me, why not?

Then again, there is that idea that a male human could be as helpful … fringe benes might be a factor, too … but it could be an issue when it comes to the “trainable” bit. Treats only go so far and they don’t seem to easily get the hang of that most basic of commands: Stay!

(Thanks, David!)

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A: Just one — but he has to wait for the whole world to revolve around him.

Yesterday’s post on negotiating the junction where narcissist meets liar brought further investigation on the condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and had things jumping off the page and many thoughts popping up in the process.

With no too few sites and forums set up by and for victims of relationships with narcissists, I’m wondering how any of these folks ever manage to even get a date, much less a commitment out of anyone.

Sure, they’re charming as anything and don’t break out the devious shit for a while, and that certainly baits the hook, but in reading how uniformly narcissists conform to their disorder, it seems most would be more clued in to spotting trouble and running like hell.

Of course, red flags are often ignored early in togetherness, and with the bag of tricks any decent narcissist has available they could be looking more rosy than red when used to divert attention or cover up. And who wants to let their mind run to such dire conclusions at the beginning of what seems to have so much potential?

Letting those flags wave about and wrap around a person can be dangerously smothering, though. Here’s a selection of what there is to look forward to if those annoying little quirks you’re noting get time to bloom:

Common Behaviours of a Narcissist

* ‘Me versus You’ mentality;
* Competitiveness;
* ‘Tit for tat’ retaliations;
* Striving for the ‘spotlight’ and attention;
* Excessive generosity to outside people;
* Uncomfortable when others are incurring attention or praise;
* If can’t be centre of attention will either discredit or leave the experience;
* May fake illnesses or problems to procure attention / sympathy;
* Abusive verbal behaviour when angered or insecure;
* Tendency toward violent and even criminal behaviour;
* Inappropriate and inapplicable language in front of women and children;
* Dark moods that affect others;
* False promises;
* Glorifies and falsifies achievements past and present;
* Expects to be recognised and praised;
* Finds others not complying with wants intolerable;
* Extreme sensitivity to criticism;
* Extreme defensiveness when confronted;
* Pathological lying;
* Disdain for rules, regulations, decency and morality;
* Childish outbursts and behaviour;
* Very little consideration for how behaviour affects others;
* Extreme lack of compassion or sensitivity towards love partners (and others’) problems;
* Grossly unsupportive to familiars in times of need;
* Brushes incidences under the carpet;
* Uses allies real or imagined to back up claims and arguments;
* Uses guilt and manipulation to influence love partners;
* Doesn’t trust love partners;
* Tendency towards unreasonable jealousy and possessiveness;
* Capable of sexually degrading name calling;
* Can steal, harm or hide property to sabotage love partners;
* Uses vengeance, threats and intimidation to control ;
* Uses excessive charm and manipulation to control;
* Little (if any) sense of conscience;
* Discredits love partners to gain attention / sympathy from others;
* Will ‘attack’ when confronted or questioned;
* Emotionally punishes love partners when feeling insecure;
* Emotionally punishes love partners when they are struggling with issues, losses, grief or challenges;
* Employs unpredictable and unaccountable behaviour;
* Capable of ‘disgusting’ behaviour to gain the upper hand and control a situation;
* Feels powerful and fulfilled when creating powerlessness in another;
* Gross failure to apologise or have sympathy after creating tears, distress or trauma to the love partner.

As mentioned, the web is rife with accounts from people who’ve come out the other side of relationships with narcissists, but what I’m not finding is anything from folks who’ve found some peace with their totally self-involved partners, but it must happen. Certainly not every narcissist ends up alone, although strings of short-term attachments are the most common form of connection for them.

Is it possible to have some version of happiness when linked with someone so self-centered as to think their partner little more than a serviceable appendage?

I’m guessing there is.

Although a two-narcissist combo could be disastrous, with enough resources it might work. Some Hollywood marriages may function this way when both partners are getting the strokes they require from a wider audience and there’s money to feather both nests in the style each demands. Keeping whatever balance is required to have both partners convinced they’re ahead of the game would be tough, but it seems possible given the excesses available.

Another good match for a narcissist might be the masochist. Some do need to be needed, and if that means one is driven to serve as both an audience and a doormat perhaps some folks can find fulfillment with someone who requires both. There are those who enjoy living the life of Trilby and seek out their own Svengali, forever more relinquishing control while contentedly hunkering down in the back seat.

What better setup could there be for someone looking to give everything, yet get nothing back than this?

These people are geniuses of “Come closer so I can slap you.” Except that’s not the way they think about it, if they think about it — no, they’re thinking, “Well, maybe you do really care about me, and, if you really care about me, then maybe you’ll help me with this,” only by “help” they mean do the whole thing, take total responsibility for it, including protecting and defending them and cleaning up the mess they’ve already made of it (which they will neglect to fill you in on because they haven’t really been paying attention, have they, so how would they know??). They will not have considered for one second how much of your time it will take, how much trouble it may get you into in their behalf, that they will owe you BIG for this — no, you’re just going to do it all out of the goodness of your heart, which they are delighted to exploit yet again, and your virtue will be its own reward: it’s supposed to just tickle you pink to be offered this generous opportunity of showing how much you love them and/or how lucky you are to be the servant of such a luminous personage. No lie — they think other people do stuff for the same reason they do: to show off, to perform for an audience. That’s one of the reasons they make outrageous demands, put you on the spot and create scenes in public: they’re being generous — they’re trying to share the spotlight with you by giving you the chance to show off how absolutely stunningly devoted-to-them you are. It means that they love you …

The trouble, however, comes when normal, reasonably well adjusted people find themselves attached to a narcissist … sooner or later, they’re going to want something in return. When that shit hits the fan things get ugly.

Demanding honesty or recognition or appreciation or respect … demanding anything … is nothing less than unreasonable under the circumstance as it’s beyond the scope of the narcissistic personality to deliver.

As explained here:

There’s only one way to get decent treatment from narcissists: keep your distance. They can be pretty nice, even charming, flirtatious, and seductive, to strangers, and will flatter you shamelessly if they want something from you. When you attempt to get close to them in a normal way, they feel you are putting emotional pressure on them and they withdraw because you’re too demanding. They can be positively fawning and solicitous as long as they’re afraid of you, which is not most people’s idea of a real fun relationship.

Nope … not most people’s idea of fun, but perhaps it does work for some.

Anyone can fall into a relationship with a narcissist, but it seems only by finding either some equality in dueling egos or giving up and in completely will keep it going for long.

Apparently, Alanis Morissette did, at one time, fall in, then climb out, since she sums it all quite nicely in her song “Narcissus” …

I wonder if the guy she wrote this about knows that, for once, it really IS all about HIM …

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Pants on Fire

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” ~ Pietro Aretino

I’m prompted today to do some research into lying … reasons for, roots of, ways of dealing with … and have come across some interesting material.

I’m not surprised by the huge number of lying-related sites online since sooner or later almost everyone finds themself trying to cope with a liar, but the consistency in the various reports has been eye opening.

Seems that lying should be easy enough to suss out and lead one to twig early on that you’re dealing with someone who has a very casual relationship with truth. The problem is, however, that honest people never quite get how deep the lying thing lies.

There are several diagnostic terms for types of liars …

A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others. A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused – it is done to get one’s way). Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways.

A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small. For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right. Compulsive lying is usually thought to develop in early childhood, due to being placed in an environment where lying was necessary. For the most part, compulsive liars are not overly manipulative and cunning (unlike sociopaths), rather they simply lie out of habit – an automatic response which is hard to break and one that takes its toll on a relationship (see, how to cope with a compulsive liar).

The terms Pathological Liar, Habitual Liar and Chronic Liar are often used to refer to a Compulsive Liar.

Not that attaching the correct ID is helpful:

Ultimately, making this type of distinction may not be that useful. Because in either case, the outcome is typically the same: dealing with a compulsive or pathological liar is very difficult to do. And unfortunately, sociopaths cannot be changed.

Although having a liar in your life is annoying at best … soul-crushing is more often the result … it seems there’s little anyone can do to change the situation, and that includes the liar.

And like any behavior which provides comfort and an escape from discomfort (i.e., alcohol, drugs, sex), lying can become addictive and hard to stop. For the compulsive liar, lying feels safe and this fuels the desire to lie even more.

Making matters even more complicated, compulsive lying is often a symptom of a much larger personality disorder, which only makes the problem more difficult to resolve (see, narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder).

As a manifestation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, lying is a foundation stone and a basic in relationships and there’s no way to avoid the fact that involvement with a narcissist will mean being lied to.

Another symptom of narcissism is pathological lying. Purposeful lying is narcissistic and is born from a need to manipulate in order to control. This characteristic began at a very early age. The narcissist never matured to the level where he accepted essential emotional truths: lying creates distrust and separation with others. It destroys relationships.

To be honest (and therefore vulnerable) terrifies the narcissist. He fears this will equate to being controlled by others. He needs to uphold lies so people don’t discover the truth of who he really is. The narcissist finds comfort in not being pinned down, and not being accountable. More lies are necessary to cover up a previous lie. The pathological lies become malignant and the high-level narcissist scripting an illusionary life begins to believe his own versions. This is why pathological lying is so hard to detect, and may even pass a polygraph. Additionally the narcissist doesn’t suffer a guilty conscience. He believes he’s entitled to lie. It’s the only way he knows how to operate in a world of ‘me versus you’ without the emotional resources to trust. The tragic thing is: narcissists genuinely believe everyone else thinks and feels exactly the way they do. They don’t trust anyone. The narcissist makes sure he gets you before you can get him.

The quotes refer to “he” because it’s reported that 75% of narcissists are men, but knowing a few females who wear the assignation proudly … or not … it’s not an attractive quality in either sex, although they certainly wouldn’t see it that way.

That research into lying led to narcissism is interesting and the two do dovetail in disturbing ways. It makes too much sense that one who lies lives in a self-centered circle in which others are meant to be drawn into an orbit where gravity is controlled through whatever means available, and lying, to a liar, is an easy method of control. There’s no doubt that the person on the receiving end of lies stands on ever-shifting ground, and that imbalance works to the advantage of the one in charge of the circle.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you>” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

So, after a lot of reading I’m left with a sense of sad futility. There’s just no helping some or fixing broken people who have no idea how visible their fractures are to the rest of us. Of course, not caring one whit what others think or how much damage can be done is pretty handy, but I still find it heartbreaking.

That humans are flawed is a fact no one can ignore. That flawed people do damage is another. That this particular flaw is so prevalent is most disturbing.

I do hate being lied to and knowing I’m just one of many hearing the same bloody lies doesn’t make me feel any better about it. (Classically, narcissistic liars insist their behavior is specific, although this is far from the truth. Everyone gets the same treatment since it’s never about YOU, but always about ME.) At least I have the good sense to recognize the lies and understand it’s not my reflection glaring, and that helps a bit, although it does little to relieve the frustration that comes with endless strings of useless lies.

Still makes me sad, though, and especially sad for the liar who just can’t stop. It must be a very stressful and disappointing way to live, and although it’s easy enough to say, “Just stop lying and start telling the truth, FFS,” it’s apparently not that simple for those so hooked.

As with any addict, consequences can be dire, the damage spreads beyond the individual and there is no dignity in a life of lies … which is why, I suppose, the word shameless fits so well with liar, although shameful works, too.

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2010 was not a great year. It wasn’t the worst I’ve had, but certainly didn’t live up to my wish that it be a complete turnaround from the previous 365 days. Although I was extremely fortunate to get through those twelve months with no one I love dying, disappointments were rife and some great plans proved to be little but dust in the wind that often lodged in my eyes and produced prodigious tears.

Because I am who I am and I do what I do, the fallout also produced words, some of which rhymed or scanned, and in an effort to produce something to show for the year I’ve put them together in an eBook.

Some of the work included has been seen here on the blog, some hasn’t, and all in the book come with images, so even if some may have seen the words before, they’ve not seen them quite like this.

Titled, “It’s Gets Verse”, the book is dedicated to those who touched me in one way or another over the course of last year:

If you’ve made me laugh,
this book’s for you.
If you’ve caused me tears,
it’s for you, too.
Each hasn’t depth
without reversal,
and life, we know,
is no rehearsal.
For all who’ve had me
feel so much …
the good, the bad …
I’ve loved your touch.

In an effort to establish some value in my own mind for the collecting of all the bits of soot and ash from 2010’s burnt offering, I’m offering my offering for all of $5 a download. (PayPal works — sandra.splash@gmail.com — or cash through the post.)

I’ll be well pleased if I find that all the shit I went through last year was worth fifty bucks or so …

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I’d like to say I’m a sweet, nonviolent soul, easily placated who sees the best in every situation, seeks out silver linings and happy to calmly await changes for betterment.

Yeah, that sounds nice. Problem is, it comes nowhere close to accurate in most any description because in fact I’m a right stroppy bitch driven to murderous rages over much of the shit that happens in the world, impatient, intolerant and prone to snap when provoked.

Although more than impressed with outcomes generated by gentle greats like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, I’m incapable of that much cheek turning of the other kind and subscribe more closely to the adage that revenge can work as a deterrent and is a dish best served up cold.

It’s this little quirk that reacts today to a BBC report today out of the DRCongo:

”The rebel leader asked me two things: ‘Do you want us to be your husbands? Or do you want us to rape you?'”

Congolese mother-of-eight Clementine speaks in a quiet and hesitant voice:

“I chose to be raped.”

She explains: “I told myself, if I tell them that I want to be their wife, they will kill my husband. I didn’t want my children growing up saying the one that made our father die is our mother.”

But that sacrifice was not enough. Her husband left her for another woman.

“After they raped me, my husband hated me. He said I was dirty.

Can we count on how many levels this sucks?

Although it’s nice enough for the UN’s “special representative on sexual violence in conflict” to notice the DRC is the “rape capitol of the world”, that doesn’t seem to be doing much to make it stop.

Maybe it’s this story about a fox getting his own that sets me off today, but my vengeful mind has come up with an idea that goes a bit further than charting rape cases and tut-tutting and probably wouldn’t cost any more than those useless activities.

You see, when I read ‘victim’ I tend to think more in terms of keeping numbers of new ones down than keeping count and collecting grim tales. Seems a much better use of time, energy and funds, yet even I stop short of the idea of blasting the bastards to smithereens.

Not that blasting away is a foreign thought since I grew up with guns and am a bloody good shot. No, it’s more the realization that blowing away bad guys doesn’t stop more bad guys from popping up. There’s something sexy in dying in a blaze of glory that draws dudes like maggots to rotting innards, plus a very good chance of collateral damage doing in victims along with the perps.

With all the money going into arms research, I’m thinking it’s time investment was made in developing a weapon designed specifically for places like the DRC; a weapon that won’t kill, can’t hurt victims, yet will put an end to the rapes and see a significant drop-off … so to speak … in new recruits.

Think phaser, as in “Set your phasers to stun” … only instead of kill or stun the only setting is shrivel.

Imagine a blaster that has no effect whatsoever aside from shrinking testicles to nothing, then causing them to drop off. Aim it at a woman, nothing happens, but lock, load and deliver on some dude and it’s bye-bye balls.

If these could be manufactured in small sizes … and possibly in pink … women in Congo could be issued one each. Just think of the problems solved, the shift in power and what a lovely place central Africa could become to raise children!

Does this seem harsh?

Sorry, but if it does, you’re missing something.

Thankfully, most no longer chalk rape up to a “boys will be boys” thing, but it’s still a horror under-appreciated in its terror and damage.

In one of the rooms, a heavy foul smell suffocates the air. At first impression, it gives the impression of a toilet that is not clean. It wasn’t.

The smell was coming from the women themselves.

Some of them are suffering from fistula whose manifestation is the uncontrollable passage of urine and in some cases, faeces.

It is estimated that 14 women are raped each day in eastern DR Congo

One 15-year-old is drumming as hard as she can.

Her experiences exemplify this complex war raging against women. She was abducted by 10 rebels from the Interahamwe group accused of carrying out the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda. They kept her for about a year as a sex slave.

”They would rape me in turns. It got to a point where I did not feel pain.”

They fed her when they wished and gave her water from their gumboots to drink. She soon became pregnant. The rebels said she would be set free once she had given birth.

”One day they tied me to a tree and tried to pull the baby out. The blood… it just kept flowing.”

She says she can no longer feel pain and relates all this in a detached manner – cold and emotionless – and then ties a colourful wraparound around her waist and walks away.

Rapists rarely rape just once and enthusiasm for it is contagious. Aside from killing the bastards, the only way to put a dent in a rapist is to separate him from his scrotum buddies.

So …

Anyone have connections in the weapons biz and want to get in on the ground floor of production of The Ball Buster?

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Yesterday’s post on You=tube and being all DaDaDandy needs a follow, and although I’m far from growing wings and going chirpy I may possibly have something percolating between synapses that offers other than gloom for a Tuesday.

When in discussions with folks who subscribe to Life is Short and Then You Die and That’s All She Wrote line of thought, one question that pops into mind is: Why?

Not, “Why do you think this is all there is?”, because that actually makes a lot of sense, but “Why?” as a broader issue.

Although I do understand the biological imperative we carry to find meaning to life in our efforts to figure out what’s going on and therefore somehow protect ourselves with the result being we stick around longer, that doesn’t feel quite enough to get us to the point of doing so so well.

In the course of evolution, changes in species arise because something new and different works, and works well enough and is repeated often enough to have those with it make more others than those without. Many new adaptations are very costly involving trade-offs in expenditures of energy.

Bright coloring in male birds, for instance, takes more energy, but results in breeding opportunities, so it works and is worth it.

Humans stand rather than crawl after developing big ass muscles, an improvement on mobility allowing us to use our hands which led to tool making and a decent living for manicurists. The ability to use tools made killing big stuff possible so we starting living in groups … which spread the cost a bit as the society as well as individuals anted up … and talking to each other so we could manage to deal with mammoth leftovers.

Fine. DadaDandy, even.

Where the evolutionary sense runs off the rails for me, however, is where we got so bloody smart.

Where is the biological imperative in moving from beating on a log while blowing through a reed to Mozart? For that matter, why did we start blowing on reeds in the first place? Chimps have been around as long as we have and done well without making music, so what is it in us that needs it to soothe the savage breast?

What good has it done our species to build extra brain making it possible to turn completely effective grunts to poetry, to develop compassion to the point of giving the shirts off our back to help another in need and the determination to go where no one has gone before even when we well know there’s a dearth of fruiting trees in them thar hills?

Big brains need a lot of calories to form and to work. Why go that way when longer arms or wings or bigger lungs may have served better?

If there’s one thing going on making me suspect there’s more than one thing going on, it would be that we’re over-engineered for what’s needed for survival in this world. Because that over-engineering is so expensive, it seems there must be a better reason for it than simple process of effective mutation explains, and because of that there just might be more to us.

So, from a Monday to a Tuesday, and from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to a philosopher of our time, Yoda …

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Perhaps …

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Dawn is cracking loud today, or maybe it’s the Pistols on the iPod shredding the infamous songwriting duo Kierkegaard & Nietzsche’s classic “Nihilism, So DaDaDandy” I’m confusing with the break of yet another week.

Yes, it’s THAT sort of morning after THAT sort of night following THAT sort of day yesterday having me think THESE sorts of thoughts.

Good morning, World … and how about that idea that we’re all nothing but a tube?

Let’s start this Monday off with the thought that we are plain and simply biological creatures born to live, then die, whose entire raison d’etre is to take in nutrients, excrete … well … excrement and reproduce, and grandiose concepts like some spiritual component, a soul, are nothing but a load of wishful hooey.

Most of science certainly points us in that direction, after all, and easily implicates bio reasons for just about anything going on in us. Everything from our fears to our joys to our passions to our annoyances can be traced to our DNA.

We love our kids because our brains grew big enough to require long childhoods for development, so we grew attached to the little buggers so we wouldn’t boot them out of the cave before they could walk … or eat them.

We dream because of electro-chemical processes. We ponder the stars and the moon because doing so paid off in longer life spans.

We create art and music out of a mandate to communicate that facilitates eating, passing along our genetic material and not being killed for our share of the mammoth.

We fall in love out of primal urges … and fall out of love for those same primal urges. (See reproduction.)

At some point our brains expanded enough to leave room for more than grubbing for grub and screwing, so started wondering about stuff. What we couldn’t explain got stories and stories became habit forming and led to religion and writing and science.

There are no few folks who subscribe wholeheartedly to this concept and appear to be comfy in the knowledge that born-live-die is all there is to it. Some tout freeing aspects in the idea that you only live once, so make the bloody most of it.

I get that. I do. But what I don’t get is the point.

Because it is dictated we must eat, we must survive, we must breed, it’s not like like it’s a party. For many it is really fucking hard and no fun at all, and if the only reason to put up with all the crap is to bring another generation in to put up with all the crap, well, seems saving them the effort wouldn’t be a bad thing.

But, see? That’s where we’re bound, trapped like a bug in amber. It’s in our DNA.

Even our fear of death is rooted in our code because without it … and with nothing else going on … we’d be topping ourselves right and left as soon as we figured out how fucking pointless it is to struggle and suffer for however many decades we’re allowed to struggle and suffer through.


If we’re looking for meaning, it must come in flashes, in moments the chemicals in our brains pump out warm fuzzies and set us awash in sweet juices. These keep us going, they translate as hope … and are addictive as hell, so we plod through days and weeks and months and years and decades searching for fix after fix.

Anyone want to talk me down from this precipice?

Gawd, I hate Mondays …

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Dovetail tools, bless 'em ...

I have almost no idea why two particular stories in today’s news dovetail in my mind, but for reasons perhaps only the severely disturbed might grasp, they do.

First is this piece on some little dudes who’ve managed to stay alive for … get this … 34,000 years.

It wasn’t long ago that a whole new life form was discovered, and here we are again learning that the impossible is … well … not.

“It was actually a very big surprise to me,” said Brian Schubert, who discovered ancient bacteria living within tiny, fluid-filled chambers inside the salt crystals.

Salt crystals grow very quickly, imprisoning whatever happens to be floating — or living — nearby inside tiny bubbles just a few microns across, akin to naturally made, miniature snow-globes.

“It’s permanently sealed inside the salt, like little time capsules,” said Tim Lowenstein, a professor in the geology department at Binghamton University and Schubert’s advisor at the time.

Ah … the stuff we don’t know until it bites us on the ass. (Okay, until science folks dedicated to the looking find. Not the same as an ass bite, sure, but it’s not like the stuff didn’t exist before the finding, is it?)

A quick mention of the fact that both these discoveries come out of California, as do I, and I’m liking that and trying to think of a clever link, but failing.

Perhaps because I’m so far out on the linking limb already in tying that story to this one titled: Is John Paul ll Being Fast-Tracked To Sainthood?

Sure, there’s a time thing they have in common … 34,000 years alive and six years dead … but that’s a stretch, isn’t it? Maybe it’s something to do with bacteria in general?

Or maybe it’s the whole miracle-makes-saint deal …

Pope Benedict XVI has recognized a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II, bringing the late pontiff one step from sainthood a mere six years after his death, the Vatican announced on Friday (Jan. 14).

By signing a decree accepting the miracle, Benedict completed one of most rapid beatifications in the modern history of the Catholic Church. Another miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession will be required before he can be declared a saint.

Where am I going with this? (That’s a question to self, btw.)

Let’s try this …

Some old git kicks it back in 2005, the crowd goes wild shouting “santo subito” in that We-are-all-individuals! sort of way and sets up a chain reaction that ignores the fact the dead guy was up to some nasty shit before biting the dust yet does manage to dig up a nun who started feeling better a couple of months later. Okay.

On the other side of the planet, life goes on as it has for the last 34,000 years within some salt crystals.

Both stories make today’s news. One is no surprise at all while the other is an astonishing discovery. One adds to the body of human knowledge as the other points out how pointlessly inane people can be. One recognizes a new and unexpected push at the edge of the envelope we call life while the other bestows honors that are only awarded to dead folks.

I’m thinking 34,000-year-old bacteria actually trump anything that managed to stick around for less than 9 mere decades, so perhaps it would make some sense if the popester were to convey some sort of holyosity on the microorganisms for toughing it out.

Nah. What good would that do them?

But, then again …

What good will it do John Paul at this stage of the game? He’s more bacteria than anything else by now anyway …

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