Friday, October 31, 2008

just in time for halloween: something truly scary

Frankly, she just doesn't compare to Jeff Goldblum. But then, who does?

I'm of course talking about Sarah Palin's remake of "The Fly," in which she disses...well, pretty much all of science while attempting to talk about earmark spending. The scientific community is a little too polite to say "Fuck you, you ignorant bitch," but then, I'm not a scientist.

My dad is, though. He's a biochemist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh. And he's got some colleagues around the world who, in addition to being pretty cool, are so smart that it kind of makes me want to cry. Like Jerry Coyne.

Because I grew up in a house with a scientist, I'm sure I have a little more insight into the way research works than the average person. Certain people (dumb ones) like to deride science (personifying it as though it's a sentient being, which makes me want to stab wildly in all directions until I hit something) for seemingly wacky experiments. But as is explained in the linked article above, (seriously, read it -- it's not long and it's well-written) these "wacky" experiments are how we gain insight into, um, pretty much everything.

A few years ago, my father went to Norway to collect a specific type of jellyfish in order to conduct research on its venom. Oh, how hilarious -- hanging off the side of a boat in Scandinavia with a net! And I know it does sound pretty funny. If it weren't being done for the purposes of research, those would be the actions of a crazy person.

But the point of this research is to develop a drug which will be a powerful pain reliever that won't have any of the side effects associated with drugs like morphine, et cetera, in that it will relieve pain while leaving the patient fully alert. If you've ever seen someone you love lying in a hospital bed doped out of her mind, you can understand how much this research is needed and how much of an impact it will have on people's lives.

The next usual thing people say is something along the lines of, "Then why do we have unnecessary things like Viagra if all research has such important intentions?" Because that's not how drug research works. No one set out to invent a boner pill. It was originally intended as a treatment for hypertension. It just happened to have a certain side effect. And those researchers were, how shall I put this -- not stupid. Although given the frequency with which I am subjected to Enzyte commercials (which are the same thing as Viagra, in case anyone's wondering) I kind of wish they were.

I'm not claiming that every single research endeavor intends to or has the possibility to change the world. And many an experiment with noble intentions has fallen flat or had horrible repercussions. Just think of all the horror the planet has endured as a result of the creation of the atomic bomb, the least of which being world leaders who can't pronounce "nuclear."

Just because something might sound strange doesn't mean that it is. So maybe if you aren't in any way associated with any branch of science, even peripherally like I am, you should probably consult with somebody who understands these things before you embarrass yourself.

In conclusion, and happy Halloween:

Seth Brundle: If secondary element is fly, what happened to fly?
Computer: Fusion.
Seth Brundle: Assimilation? Did Brundle absorb fly?
Computer: Negative. Fusion of Brundle and fly at molecular-genetic level.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

you don't have to be crazy to volunteer for mccain, but -- my mistake; you actually do

So the big story in Pittsburgh right now, other than Santonio Holmes getting busted for driving around smoking a blunt, (which subsequently led to the most hilarious local news item, which was old white men attempting to explain what a blunt is) is the psycho McCain volunteer who carved a backwards B on her face, gave herself two black eyes, and then filed a false police report accusing an imaginary black dude of mugging her, assaulting her, and then carving up her face. The B apparently was meant to stand for "Barack." Apparently the story was picked up nationally -- McCain and Palin both spoke to her over the phone. Obama issued a supportive statement. And I said, "Bitch, please."

So did a lot of other people, including detectives with the Pittsburgh city police. Today they announced that it was in fact a load of bullshit and that the woman is in fact crazier than Richard Simmons in that yogurt commercial. And all the surprised people gasped in unison at the Invisible People Convention, currently under way downtown, which was the reason the imaginary black dude was visiting in the first place. I hear his keynote address tomorrow night ("Life at Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: My Post-Susan Smith Non-Existence") is going to be excellent.

I'm really sorry that this woman is so profoundly out of her gourd -- especially this close to Halloween -- but seriously, why would anyone make up this story? I've hated a lot of politicians, but I'd never concoct something so ridiculous. Then again, I'd also never carve a backwards letter into my face for three reasons: because I much prefer "The Crucible" to "The Scarlet Letter," (check out the last line in the first link) because I am not a frothy-lipped lunatic, and because I spent a lot of my childhood writing backwards messages in wintertime car windows. At least go with a letter that works both ways, like, I don't know... an O. Which would have made more fucking sense for like thirteen trillion reasons. But as my mother has said to me on many occasions, you can't expect an insane person to do anything in a sane way.

In conclusion, McCain's locked up the extremely important crazy white bitch (18-25) vote, but who knows how many of them will make it to the polls, given that these imaginary criminals are still at large.

PS: For those of you who aren't from Pittsburgh, Santonio Holmes is a wide receiver for the Steelers and is not imaginary, though he will be invisible during this Sunday's game.

Monday, October 13, 2008

bigots don't read, cosmic lemons, and this one's for the grandkids

I checked my email just now and saw a note from the HRC telling me it's been 10 years since Matthew Shepard was murdered. A decade. In some very important ways, the GLBT community has made critical strides toward equality. But by no means are we equal, so by no means are we done. And if this anniversary marks anything other than a specific tragedy, it's that we still have a long way to go. But we're getting there.

I was a sophomore in high school when he died. That makes me feel both young and old. Especially when this hasn't stopped. You'd only have to scroll back a few months in my blog to see a video of Ellen DeGeneres talking about another young boy who died because of someone else's ignorance.

It seems we only address the issue of hate when something horrible happens. And this isn't limited to the GLBT community. When was the last time any of us had the Jena 6 in the forefront of our mind? Because equality is equality. Maybe that's part of the problem.

At 3:30 in the morning, I don't have a solution to offer America on my blog. I don't think it'd get there anyway, and besides, I'm preaching to the choir. I don't think "God Damn It, Amanda" attracts a silent readership of bigots. Then again, bigots only read one book, a book designed to make people better people. So clearly their reading comprehension levels are a bit low.

I was talking with my mother yesterday about her mom, who just turned 82. She was born in 1926 in rural Virginia and went to college during WWII. And I realized that when my grandmother was born, women had only had the right to vote in this country for six years and going on two months. And now my grandmother is witnessing this election. (And voting for Obama, by the way.)

My great-grandmother was born in 1888. Her parents lived in the south during the Civil War. They had slaves. (Which is a whole other discussion that makes me want to scrub my genes with some sort of disinfectant.)

Then we got to talking about my father's side of the family. I don't want to give the wrong impression -- neither of my parents are racist. But my paternal grandfather was an old-school bigot of the first order. He had some nice qualities about him, and those are the parts of him I remember, because he died when I was 5. I've always joked that he would have disowned me if he'd known me as an adult, though. I said that, and Mom said, "He really would have. You two would not be on speaking terms. In fact, if he were alive today, your relationship with him would be exactly what it is now as he's been dead for two decades. And you would have hated him, too."

Not that that was a surprise to hear, but I'd always thought of it as him hating me, not the other way around. But I really would have. So I've been thinking about it. Does any hate make you a bigot? Is it hypocritical of me to acknowledge that I'd hate him? Because I'd probably hate him the way I hate Dick Cheney, because I theorized and Mom agreed that he'd have tried to use my college fund to send me to some Make-U-Straight camp.

The answer of course is no, because hating bigots is to judge a person based on his character. But also because I'd forgive him.

If there's an afterlife in which some kind of greater truth is revealed to us, which I unwaveringly assert is that everyone everywhere is equal, that no one is better than anyone else, and that no kind of love is ever wrong, I'd have to assume he'd let it sink in and then say, "Okay, you got me, that was my bad, you guys," (because apparently my dead grandfather is in "The Hills: Afterlife"). And we'd be cool. (Side note, if I die and then hear a booming voice tell me that I was wrong and the bible was meant to be taken literally and so that every-fucking-thing ever is an abomination, I'm going to scream "Seriously?!" because I really, really, really, really, really think that would just be somebody fucking with Dead Amanda. And then I will hear afterlife laughter.) If, however, he decided to be a dick about it and refuse the idea that people are people no matter what they look like (how radical -- I must be a communist) then he could go suck a cosmic lemon.

Either way, whether he'd be capable of tolerance or not, as I go down the street in a few weeks and order up some democracy on my blinking Sheetz screen, (with pickles and mayo!) I am going to once again cast my e-ballot for Obama and think, "This one's for you, Grandpa."

But to tell the truth, it's mostly gonna be for my grandchildren.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

content-free content: just like fox news

I'm posting so much today because I'm glued to my computer because I'm supposed to be working on my final revisions for one of my classes. (Grad school is organized strangely.)

Enjoy LoLincoln.

And another link. It makes me sad and incredulous at the same time, which is a very specific and disheartening emotional combination, and one I'm not used to experiencing when thinking about anything other than the Bush administration.

Friday, October 10, 2008

it's possible that my soulmate is a 31st-century robot

Wouldn't be the first machine I've been in love with. But he would be the first that isn't battery-operated.

Evil Bender's blog.

hey there, sarah palin

Enjoy. I love these guys.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

the real october surprise: a vision of my future

It's me in 60 years. I love this woman. She's hilarious! And understands the beauty of the sentence fragment. (Somewhere on the "Maverick my ass" post is my little comment -- basically it's what I just said. Hey, they can't all be brilliant.)

Earlier today, I was having an idle moment (I must have been peeing -- those are the only idle moments I get to have at work. Perhaps that and not the arid conditions of our office is what makes me drink nonstop throughout my entire shift) and wondered how much I'll change as time goes on. Is it true? Does your mind narrow and your waistline expand? That's a terrifying thought. I mean, my waist is already expanded. I'll be composed of shapes not found in nature if that happens. But will I lose my sense of humor? Will I suddenly become conservative?

I kind of doubt it. My mother calls people "abortion survivors." This could be the screaming child interrupting our conversation or McCain slowly dying in one of his campaign ads. My grandmother tells penis jokes. I'm pretty sure it's in our DNA.

But it gives me a strange sense of calm hope to know that we are not alone in our delightfully profane ways. Plus, it's just funny to read an 82-year-old woman calling John McCain an asswipe. You know, 60 years before I'm the one doing it.