Dec 04

Of cabin fever and deep-fried kale

No. 1 Quality deer-in-the-headlights iPhone food fotography: Verlasso salmon at Cafe Josie.

I got the heck off the farm last night.

Whooo-wee! Away to Austin I did hie, to hook up with my erstwhile sidekick Stingray for a bite of dinner and a few glugs of the good stuff. And not a moment too soon. My cabin fever was reaching critical mass. After pulling hay out of my knickers and dodging exploding horse boils and staring at the same tired old breathtaking view of the same tired old magnificent Milky Fucking Way, day after day, night after night, a brief sojourn into the heartwarming HDHU (hi-density hipster universe) is, to a crone, like slipping a grateful ass into an old, frayed pair of sweat pants. I grew up in the country, but I got old in the city. It’s the old what took hold and my id it did mold.

Austin’s HDHU is just one invigorating tableau after another. Cocky hippies on $5000 bikes run circles around silly little Cars2Go. Schizophrenic dudes with deep bronze homeless tans mutter at bus stops advertising sexist-ass American Apparel. There’s nowhere to park, ever. Strings of white lights festoon every festoonable thing. Young gay dudes wear gay little trilbys and gesticulate extravagantly on coffee house patios — you don’t see that in Dripping Springs. The entire downtown seems ever so slightly tilted toward the event horizon of sanctimonious yupper-middle classumerism, the gravitationally indomitable Whole Foods mothership at 5th & Lamar. Where, incidentally, you can get a pretty decent bean and cheese taco, if you can bear to walk past the displays of flawless, gleaming fruit and aisles stocked with nothing but organic fair trade dark chocolate smoked fleur de sel caramels. But I warn you, stay away from the pizza.

My point is that, in the city, the things that are likely to kill me — armed robbers, terrorists, city buses, rogue cops, Whole Foods pizza — are all cozy and familiar and unlikely. Whereas out here at Dreadful Acres, the dangers are continuous, alien and weirdly probable. Dead skunks in the cistern. Maverick longhorn cattle in the carport. Brown recluse spiders in my bed. Black widow spiders in the barn. One of my nutjob Arabians objects to the drunk neighbors conducting semi-automatic weapon target practice, has a panic attack, and crushes me into a fence before sprinting off and getting tangled up in the one scrap of bobwar left on the property. I never know when I’m gonna step on a venomous serpent. I never know when I’m gonna come off a horse and land in a cactus. I never know when I’m gonna be impaled by a surly wild boar. I never know when my horse is gonna step on a venomous serpent, spook into a cactus, and chuck me off onto a surly wild boar.

Give me a drug-addled intruder any day. One time, here at the farm, it was about 10 PM when a half-naked, foaming wild dude from the meth lab about ½ mile down the road showed up, bleeding, soaking wet, freezing, babbling, and banging on my kitchen window. Finally! I said. Here’s a threat to my personal well-being that makes sense! Incoherent drug addicts on the porch in the middle of the night? Pah! Child’s play to an old South St Louis hipster such as myself. I can handle that shit with one hand tied behind my back, backwards and in high heels. But rarely are the horrors at Dreadful Acres so obligingly mundane.

Like the time my bare leg brushed innocently against a fencepost. Stab! The most agonizing pain ever! It turned out to be a cute little furry caterpillar. Its cute little furry spines, full of venomous alien acid, seared a perfect caterpillar imprint onto my leg, which continued to burn and itch like some profligate, untethered hemorrhoid for — I do not exaggerate — months afterward. A year later, the burn scar on my leg is finally fading, but its doppelgänger lives on in my embattled amygdala, seething with the venom-fire of a thousand cute furry worms!

Aside from the cronicidal impulses of Mother Nature, one of the most unsettling things about living so far from town is that I never know where my next dish of overthunk, preciously-plated food is coming from. So I treasure these little forays into Austin.

Let me just say that dining out with Stingray is awesome. Not so much because her conversation scintillates (last night, for example, her theme was “Jill, You Are Really Fuckin Old”), but because she’s a professional wine nerd and seems to know every fancy chef in town. This always results in free fancy food and lots of fancy service. Bring it on, I say, plucking the hayseeds out of my teeth. So last night Stingray and I hoofed it on over one of our favorite joints in Clarksville.

Dinner was superior. We nibbled like hedonismbots on crispy fried oysters and Verlasso salmon, which came with fried kale, cake-like cornbread that had been fried — praise the lard — in butter, and a fried chorizo gastrique.

These wacky young chefs today! After they’ve crispy-fried everything in sight, they’ll make a gastrique out of just about any old dadgum thing, and then they’ll crispy-fry something else. To prove it, the chef, Stingray’s dearest old chum, sent us out a plate of crispy fried duck sweetbreads with arugula and ancho aioli, a dish he’d invented on the spot to use up some leftover innards that were otherwise destined for the dumpster. A much appreciated gesture.

Fried duck dumpster sweetbreads, eh? You don’t scare me, chef. I’m an old campaigner, a restaurant critic from way back. You name it, I’ve eaten it, and if I haven’t eaten it, by all means lead me to it, and I will eat it, and then I will write about it.

It is impolite to look a gift fried pancreas in the mouth, so of these crispy duck sweetbreads let me just say that if the earth were engulfed in some gastronomic cataclysm, and the only snack choices left were Whole Foods pizza and crispy duck sweetbreads, I’d take those little sweetbreads every time, hands down.

Absent the cataclysm, though, I might stick with the oysters.

Anyway, you might suppose that, after I’d medicated my Urban Deficit Disorder in the above-described manner, I’d have woken up this morning with a glad cry, ready anew to shovel manure, a song in my heart and a twinkle in my eye. Sadly, I did not.

Why? Because at 2 AM an unexpected rain came crashing down. Which meant, if I didn’t want my poor mare Stella to die of exposure, I had to de-stuporize myself toot sweet and stumble out to the barnyard to rearrange all the horses so she could get under a roof. Naturally I couldn’t get back to sleep after all that midnight livestock-wrangling, so I turned on the TV. It was a Wesley Snipes movie where a hottt young chick was repeatedly smashed into a mirror, hurled onto the floor, and eventually shot severally in the chest. The actor playing the mangled victim spasmed realistically with each gunshot. Her final blood-gurgling breath was captured lovingly in a lingering closeup, and the whole mirror-smashing sequence was then replayed in slo-mo.

That’s entertainment!

Dec 03

Chronic affliction blows crone’s lobe

By the shaking jumping ghost of Jehosaphat (by which oath crones occasionally swear when they’ve already yagged out “god fucking dammit to hell are you fucking kidding me” about 67 times and are then inclined toward a brief, restful phase of ironic 19th-century folksiness), I tell you I can’t stand it another minute. By gum.

Pitiful horse tragically afflicted with volcanic lumpage

I allude, of course, to the chestnut mare Ginger Rogers and her absurd propensity for mysterious lumpages and repellent edemas. Journey with me now, back through the mists of time, to the dreadful day a couple of weeks ago when Ginger Rogers presented with giant, leaking, crusty umbilical pus-bags. Recall that her epidermis was riddled with lumps the size of grape tomatoes, some of which had ruptured to emit that yellow crust that looks like raw sugar. I appealed to the CoTH forum and even to a couple of veterinarians for advice. From the forum I got sympathy — which was nice — and from the vet, in lieu of a diagnosis, I got a 5-day course of dex, some Dermalone ointment, and an expensive lab test for pigeon fever that eventually came back negative and/or inconclusive.

And so my desperate struggle began. Twice a day, every day, whether it was windy, or chilly, or even partly cloudy, I fought my way to the paddock with my little first aid pail. I sponged off the crust, applied Betadine and Dermalone, administered apples spiked with dex tablets, and fretted feebly, wiping a tear from my jaundiced eye. A more pitifuler tableau you never saw.

I forgot my latex gloves a couple of times, so stay tuned for the post where I complain about getting laminitis from the steroids.

Everything a crone needs to ineffectively combat oozing lumpomas.

Anyway, knock me over with a feather, Ginger Rogers’ condition cleared right up. To celebrate we hoisted cups of wassail on the Lido deck and played air drums to Led Zeppelin IV long into the night. We all thought her hideous disfigurement was a thing of the past.

Well, we couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s as if the affliction, stunned only momentarily by my steroidal offensive and inspired by the oath-taking Crones of Cottonmouth County, has raised itself up, shaken its fist at the sky, and sworn by Grabthar’s hammer and the suns of Minivan that it will be avenged. It’s even more gruesome than before. Ginger Rogers’ embattled ventral midline looks like supersized, hairy, weeping cottage cheese, and over the rest of her body, including her face and ears, festers a superabundance of those horrific oozing boils. Her epidermis is like unto a miniature primordial volcanoscape. It is most gross.

Currently I await the phone call from the vet. In all likelihood she’ll tell me to bring the horse back in, so I’d better go out and begin the 3-hour process of hooking up the horse trailer. My mental preparations for the white-knuckle ordeal of solo horse hauling consist of ingesting a couple of Ativans.

So, that’s about it. I don’t really have anything else. Possibly you think that this blog should serve a loftier purpose than that of a self-indulgent chronicle of my petty daily vexulations. I guess you’re probably right.

Dec 02

The tale of the infuriating handyman

Winter. It shouldn’t be allowed. Sure, at the moment it’s 80 degrees and I’m flitting about the farm in a pair of sporty Bermudas, but then again it’s only December. An epic freeze of 35, 34, maybe even 32 degrees (the horror!) is in my future, and I shudder to think. See, there are about 879 parts of the farm that, if they freeze, can cause catastrophic inconvenience. And do I ever dislike inconvenience.

Infuriating handyman emerges from some dreadful attic hellmouth.

I used to have a handyman who was in charge of managing those freezing farm-parts. But we have parted ways. Over the years he’d become an argumentative, petulant, infuriating sort of a handyman. His basic grasp of the employer-employee relationship had somehow gotten all jumbled up. He thought he was the boss of me. If I said “stack wood” would he say “how high?” No, he would not. What he’d do was, he’d emit a whine, grab a tallboy out of his cooler, get on the tractor, and drive down to the pasture to mow — I kid you not — crop circles. You never saw a guy so fond of whining and drunk-mowing crop circles.

Senseless crop circling not his only pastime, of course. He also enjoyed throwing tantrums, as well as sitting around on the porch with a beer, incoherently mansplaining that phosphates are live animals. At the time I didn’t recognize it, but looking back, it seems obvious. I’d inadvertently gotten myself a psuedo-husband. And not just any old psuedo-husband. An infuriating alcoholic pseudo-husband!

Naturally I regaled my family and friends with humorous complaints about my tantrum-throwin’ drunk-mowin’ whiny-ass handyman. It was my favorite subject. Not so much, it turned out, with the family and friends. They went from “Ha ha, what a character!” to “You guys argue like an old married couple,” to “You know, that dude seems a little off,” to “Can you talk about anything but your infuriating handyman?” to, finally, “This is an intervention. Your relationship with your infuriating handyman is dysfunctional. Listening to you complain about him all the goddam time is destroying all our lives. Fire him or you’re out of our lives for good.”

Thus did it dawn on me: because I don’t have a handy bone in my body and therefore have no business whatsoever living out in the country, I had become dependent on an infuriating handyman. And my inability to put a sock in it about this infuriating power dynamic was driving a wedge between me and my loved ones.

I don’t have to tell you how extra-infuriating this realization was for a veteran patriarchy blamer and award-nominated internet feminist such as myself. Boy was there ever egg on my face.

I’m happy to report that now I’m handyman-free and I’ve never felt so alive! As the psychologists and war correspondents say, there’s nothing quite so invigorating as impending doom. However, since notions like “change the oil in the generator” and “winter” still freak me the heck out, and since I’m probably not ever going to be of sturdy pioneer stock, I’m thinking of getting a new handyperson. A handy-lady would be a welcome change of pace, but I won’t hold my breath. Out here all the women — even the ones who shouldn’t be — seem to be married to “hubbies” and are therefore out of the running.

“Now accepting applications for handyperson at hog-infested horse farm.”
“No crop circlers need apply.”
“Eccentric crone requires burly minion to do her bidding.”

Too BDSM-y?

Nov 29

You can take the wine out of the crone, but eventually you’re gonna have to put it back in

Of the many little methods by which the shriveling of civilization inflicts itself on a crone living way the hell out here, perhaps none is as painful as the jangling pang occasioned by the wine cellar running dry. As inconceivable as it may seem to you, gentle reader, the closest drinkable bot is a full hour-and-a-half drive from Dreadful Acres.

Which is not to say that there aren’t pockets of commerce closer by. The Picturesque Texas Hill Country is liberally dotted with the vestiges of ancient, history-crammed settlements, each containing a wooden church, a dilapidated feed store, the ghost of some colorful old pioneer, and a place to buy rusty old antiques. Somewhere in the middle of it all lies the pitiful excuse for a town they call Johnson City (yes, that Johnson). Though many miles hence, it is our nearest settlement. Here is what Johnson City’s main drag looks like at rush hour (Ladybird is buried out back).

Texas Stop Sign

The so-called grocery store in Johnson City is a Super S. The “S” stands for “shit.” I am sad to report that when it comes to the definition of groceries, the Super S and I diverge irreconcilably. Whereas I am inclined to regard groceries as food, the Super S considers its job done when it has laid in a few tired heads of wilted iceberg, 17 kinds of off-brand nacho-cheese tortilla chips, and some beer. Even their Cool Whip — a product that is already fake — is fake. Seriously, it’s something called Kool Kreme. As far as wine goes, there might be a dusty box of Franzia somewhere in the Johnson City Super S, but frankly I’d rather butt-chug the arsenic-water from the tainted well here on the farm. That’s not snobbery, it’s sanity.

About 20 miles more thither is a little red slice of Texurbia called Dripping Springs. Two years ago the whole Hill Country was positively verklempt with the news that HEB, a mondo Texas grocery chain, was going to open a big-ass supermarket in downtown Drippin’. I do not exaggerate when I say that the new HEB was all anybody could talk about for months. They don’t know this at the Super S, but we denizens of the Hill Country aren’t all Kool Kreme-huffin’ yokels. Our frivolous dreams of glossy red bell peppers and Brussel’s sprouts tinged with purple, cartons of sheep’s milk feta and sprigs of fresh thyme, jars of anchovies and extra virgin olive oil in real glass bottles from Italy — within a half-hour’s drive — were about to come true. On HEB’s opening day there was a parade and a fair and a giant pair of scissors cutting a giant ribbon. Then the whole town collectively fainted from euphoria overload when it was revealed that among the mostly-fresh-ish produce were plastic boxes of organic — organic! — Baby Spring Mix lettuce!

Whip InNo doubt it will shock you to the core, as it did me, to learn that this flippin grocery store stocks nary a drop of French wine. California, of course. Italy, reluctantly. Argentina, kind of. France, no. That’s because wine buying for large grocery chains is a classist affair, and apparently the buyers at HEB are under the impression that Hill Country Texans are all France-hatin’ rednecks who only use wine as purple food coloring when they make Everclear sangria.

Le sigh.

Anyway, this folksy little regionalist blurb is just to explain why I didn’t have time to write a post today; I was obliged by my French wine habit and HEB’s reverse elitism to hie all the way the heck into Austin to recharge my stash, a 4½ -hour tour when you factor in lunch and a brief interlude of reflection on a patio bar somewhere. Today I found relief at the funky and indispensable Whip In, South I-35’s premiere cheap French wine depot (pictured), where I was assisted by the funky and indispensable Mme. Wilson, who did not want her picture taken. Assuming the wine she sold me wasn’t poisoned, regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

Nov 25

Crone doesn’t rule out becoming turkey-brothers with feral cat

Feral catLest I be accused of insufficient cat blogging — I think it is an Internetian misdemeanor when a blogger can be demonstrated to have access to a cat and yet cat-blogs not — here is the latest photo of Smudge.

Smudge is the name I’ve given to the feral cat who’s been hanging around here for the past six weeks or so, but of course I only ever call him “Kitty-Katty.” Since his arrival, and my subsequent lavishment upon him of endless cans of foul-smelling pâté, he has gone from exhibiting quite the skeletal anti-cronal attitude to a somewhat less aloof demeanor and a more — shall we say robust? — silhouette. Just in the past couple of days he’s started powering up the purr while favoring my pants-leg with his excess fur (see photo). Lately he also condescends to poke at my hand when I’m dishing out the grub. And of course, he still accompanies me to the paddock when I feed the horses at night, so he can bust a move under my feet every 5 seconds. We may yet become turkey-brothers. I may have to cut back on the pâté, though, as his move-busting is starting to take on an unseemly waddling affect.

Howver, thus far old Smudge has displayed no interest whatsoever in getting petted. When he sees the cronal mitt coming his way, he scrams toot sweet, hiding under the horse trailer and yowling unhappily. Which I must say, has me feeling a little used. The whole point of a cat is that it sits in your lap and exudes contentment while you stroke your cares away. Stupid Smudge.

Nov 25

Crone keeps hanging out on Savage Death Island

No sooner do I abandon my perfectly defunct patriarchy blaming blog in order to focus on A Crone’s Natural History Adventures in the Hinterland, than I start patriarchy blaming again. My genetic blamer mutation will not be denied, I guess. Clearly I have yet to work a few kinks out of the system. Well, until I do, here’s another blaming installment on the wrong blog.

The story so far: yesterday I posted an essay on, among other things, the gross degeneracy of the annual Thanksgiving turkeycide. Reader M.K. Hajdin took exception, accusing me of being not just a species-ist, but also something of an anti-diabetic-ite (which, I must say, was a first for me in all these years of being accused of every anti-ism in the book. Whenever I was accused of being an anti-BDSM-ite, however, it was entirely true).

I wrote this:

[W]hether a sentient being should be factory-farmed, tortured, and butchered for the fleeting pleasure of a nation of entitled hedonists should not hinge on its gentleness or intelligence. Either an act is wrong or it isn’t; the degree to which a species appears sympathetic to human conceits is irrelevant to the question of whether it deserves humane treatment.

Which moved M.K. Hajdin to write this:

I aver that because “sentient” is defined by humans as having traits similar to humans, this definition is speciesist. As is the idea that we should reward creatures who we perceive as similar to us by making a vociferous point of not eating them, yet consider the lives of “non-sentient” creatures such as plants and trees fair game for every kind of exploitation.

Those of us whose lives depend on animal products such as insulin don’t much appreciate being considered “entitled hedonists” for wanting to, you know, not die.

Before you even say, “I didn’t mean YOU”, consider this: if the attempt to persuade most of the people in the world to become vegans were successful, the supply of animal products available to those of us who don’t have sufficient economic or able-bodied privilege to deny ourselves food on ethical grounds would diminish to the point that at least some of us would die: namely, the poorest.

Since I’m one of those very poor people who can barely afford to live as it is, I can’t help seeing the proposed scarcity (and skyrocketing price) of meat products as a threat to my existence. Both the PETAloons and the more reputable vegan activists seem to either not believe in the existence of human beings who can’t adapt to a vegan diet, or to value the lives of animals above the lives of those humans. I find this attitude incompatible with social justice.

By way of responding to a couple of M.K. Hajdin’s remarks, I offer five points:

1. Your definition of “sentient” is inaccurate, thereby tanking your assertion that it is speciesist to argue against turkey factories. “Sentient” is not a synonym of “human-like.” To say that a creature is sentient simply implies that it is capable of processing sensory input. Arthropods are sentient. Octopuses. Clams. My argument against mass-producing sentient beings for the human food supply hinges on the depravity of the concomitant abuse and torture, not on the animal’s supposed human-like qualities.

As a matter of fact, the more time I spend around even domestic animals, the more I realize how completely unhuman-like even the most supposedly human-y of them are. And you know what else? As astonishing as it will be for you to read these outrageous words in a heartwarming nature crap blog, I can but declare that spending the last five years of my life with animals has taught me absolutely nothing about myself! That’s right, bupkis. I have had no spiritual awakening. No thunderbolt of clarity. No cathartic Zen-based cosmic revelation. I do not feel at one with “the land.” I am not “turkey brothers” with anyone. The animals and I are not “more alike than I ever would have thought possible.” On the contrary, we are exceedingly different in practically every conceivable way.

Which is fine by me. I just like hanging out with’em, is all.

But I digress.

So, although I would certainly advocate against mass-production of human-like species (like, close down that bonobo factory NOW), I would be against it even if scorpions were the food animals in question. This is because abuse is always an integral part of the animal factory program, and abuse degrades everybody.

2. There are arguments for veganism, and lard knows I’ve made’em in the past, but I didn’t make one in this essay. My actual argument in yesterday’s essay? “An individual’s personal conformity to arbitrary community values has no bearing on the community’s responsibility to adhere, always, to the highest possible philosophic code.”

3. You consider it disingenuous, or “speciesist,” for a crone to deplore factory farming with one side of her yap while cramming a spinach salad into the other. The thing is, spinach suggests, by its essential deficit of sensory organs, that farming it does not constitute an ethical crisis of any kind, let alone exploitation on the scale of a modern turkey factory. Indeed, agriculture would appear to actually benefit spinach, if one considers that procreation for its own sake almost certainly tops the list of spinacine ambitions.

4. Supporting the abolition of poultry torture-factories is hardly the equivalent of calling for the demise of impoverished diabetics, and it is disingenuous of you to credit me with making that obnoxious leap. As a side note — and I welcome corrections on this point, as it is only tangential to my area of expertise — it is my understanding that modern insulin is no longer made with bovine pancreases (pancreae?), but is genetically engineered using using human DNA. I am further unaware of any disease that specifically contraindicates a meatless diet; if such an affliction exists, it must be so rare as not to materially figure in the argument against factory meat production. But even if a human does suffer from a medical condition the management of which depends entirely on consumption of meat, there are ways to accomplish that without stooping to the abuse that characterizes the livestock industry and debases the entire human community. It is, as you say, “incompatible with social justice” to inflict suffering on anyone, cow, human, or otherwise.

5. Finally, to address your issue with my characterization of Thanksgiving as “hedonism,” I assert that not only is it entirely feasible, it is in fact entirely preferable, that wanton, unexamined gluttony cease to be the focus of a national holiday purporting to enjoin the populus to “give thanks.” Thanksgiving gives nothing, thanks or otherwise. Like Christmas, it is a festival of consumption. And that’s just tacky.

Nov 24

Crone’s remarks on turkey-pardoning take a patriarchy-blaming turn

Turkey, wildNo one was more surprised than I when it was discovered that misogynist celebrity self-promotion vehicle PETA and I have a peeve in common. I allude to the annual heartwarming presidential pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkeys. PETA is against it because it “makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds.” I’m against it because of the semantics.

‘Pardoning’ presupposes the commission of a transgression on the part of the pardonee. I ask you. What possible crime, other than that of having had the misfortune to be hatched turkey in a country that annually prosecutes a murderous anti-turkey rampage of unfathomable proportions, could a couple of turkeys have perpetrated? The turkeys, by virtue of their not being human, are by definition innocent, and therefore require not a pardon, but the commutation of an unjust death sentence followed by liberation.

PETA is full of shit on every level, but I can’t argue that this comic anti-turkey Presidential pantomime isn’t pretty hard to stomach every year. Factory turkeys are brutalized from the moment they are hatched, and it’s disingenuous at best to joke about it and then turn around and gorge on a turkey dinner. Which one assumes the president did, since it’s un-American not to.

However, I’m happy to report that the disgust PETA and I share on this turkey-pardoning issue is merely superficial.

PETA suggests that turkeys shouldn’t be butchered because they’re “gentle” and “intelligent.” These are dumb reasons not to butcher an animal.

I won’t argue that turkeys are not intelligent, because any 40-pound bird that can live cheek by jowl among the denizens of Dreadful Acres, yet only be glimpsed a few times a year, has got to have something going on upstairs. On the subject of their “gentleness,” however, I will tell you this: turkeys are vicious. They’re no vegetarians, either. I have seen, with my own keen crone’s eye, a turkey pluck a grasshopper right out of the weeds with its bare beak and eat it alive. Turkeys also have ginormous spurs and will claw the fuck out of each other in turf wars. They’ll do it to people, too, apparently. Did you see that PBS turkey-dude documentary? Dude lives among wild turkeys for a year, developing a cosmic spiritual bond with one of them such that they become “turkey brothers.” His turkey brother ultimately turns on him and carnages him, forcing the dude to bash his avian sibling with a pine branch, thus bringing their bromance to a tragic (and not very gentle) end.

What I’m getting at is this: whether a sentient being should be factory-farmed, tortured, and butchered for the fleeting pleasure of a nation of entitled hedonists should not hinge on its gentleness or intelligence. Either an act is wrong or it isn’t; the degree to which a species appears sympathetic to human conceits is irrelevant to the question of whether it deserves humane treatment. The ‘see how nice/cute/moral they are?’ argument reminds me of the infuriating, bogus arguments for gay marriage or abortion rights.

What arguments are those, you ask?

The case is often made by gay marriage advocates that gays should have the right to marry because they share the family values of faithfulness and monogamy and are capable of maintaining long-term relationships, just like those arbiters of moral deportment, the straights. No doubt some do, but so what? If straight people aren’t required to pass a morality exam before getting married, neither should gays. Even the lying, cheating, fuck-anything-that-moves gays should be able to get married, and they should be able to do it on a drunken whim, just like anybody else (note: this should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of marriage; it is merely an endorsement of equal rights to asinine behavior).

Likewise, one often hears pro-choice narratives depicting women who elect to have abortions as “struggling” with the painful decision, which decision, one is told, should be between the woman, her doctor, her rabbi, and her husband. Well, lookit. A woman should have unrestricted access to abortion, period, whether she “struggles” with the decision or not, and she should not have to convene a team of patriarchs to sanction the procedure. Women for whom the decision is not particularly agonizing should not be marginalized by all this touchy-feely crap about how “normal” women — the ones who are gentle and intelligent, like turkeys — are torn to pieces by the heart-wrenching dilemma, with their $150-per-visit healthcare professionals and baby-daddys guiding them. Either a woman’s uterus belongs to her or it belongs to the state.

Thus I assert that any turkey should, like the ones here at Dreadful Acres, be afforded the right to disappear into the woods at its discretion, and not be factory-farmed to celebrate a feast commemorating the commencement of a genocide, and not be forced to cede ownership of its internal organs to the state, and not have to demonstrate that it conforms to the values of the culture of domination in order to maintain its personal sovereignty.

Nov 19

Pink apocalypse (Apinkalypse) part 957

Shoptivism. That’s when people who have a little too much breast cancer awareness buy crap with pink ribbons all over it. Thanks to the awareness-behemoth Komen Foundation, there isn’t a soul anywhere in the known universe who isn’t aware as all get-out.

Well, let me clarify. Hardly anybody is aware that Komen, in all its years of relentless pink cure-a-thons and survivorship terrorism, hasn’t reduced by a single iota the number of breast cancer deaths. However, everybody is aware that if they buy cheap crap from China with pink ribbons all over it, they can feel sanctimonious about shopping. Corporations all want in on this awesome scheme because nominally supporting “breast cancer foundations and charities” makes them look virtuous even as they bank the proceeds. At the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month corporate execs, wiping tears of happiness from their glowing red eyes, throw yacht parties to celebrate their ginormous pink haul.

With the result that you can’t swing a dead feral cat without hitting some fugly-ass pink ribbon product manufactured specifically to exploit the Komen-generated breast cancer sentimentality that seemingly afflicts the entire populace. If it can be mass-produced, it’s had a flippin pink ribbon on it. Even stuff that actually causes cancer — femininity-compliance products like cosmetics and household cleaners, to name but two — gets pinked.

And now, of course, the Breyer horse. You remember Breyer, the company that produces petroleum-based model horses as fetish objects for little girls. Well, the Breyer company, it turns out, has “always believed in the restorative benefits of horse-related activities” (activities such as shelling out 50 bucks for a plastic cancer horse, presumably), as well as in the “inherently special bond between women and horses.” That bond is nearly as inherent as the breast cancer gene! Plastic horses, apparently, can “heal the human spirit,” so the “fight” against breast cancer is “a race we can win together.” Again, by shelling out 50 bucks for a model cancer horse.

Pink consumers need to pull themselves together and get a grip. Buying pink junk doesn’t do jack shit for women. Cancer prevention on the other hand, rather than the profit-driven, misogynist, ineffectual “Search for the Cure,” is something a girl can really use. Screw Komen and support Breast Cancer Action.

And seriously, why would anybody even want that creepy pink cancer horse? And why does it have one Big Lick foot? Who is the intended recipient of this extravagantly insulting and tacky object? I hope not your friend with breast cancer, because you can take it from a crone who has been chewed up and spit out by the breast cancer industrial complex, the last thing you want to do when you look at a horse is think about your hideous disfiguring potentially fatal disease as a cheap pink source of revenue for some corporation.

More of my cheery views on cancer and Komen, and a few impertinent pictures of my surgically-mutilated body are available here.

Photo swiped from Breyer website.

Nov 18

Hella-sharp stickleburrs totally bum crone out

Just once I would like to take a simple stroll in the woods without having to pull about 657 of these flippin things

Pointy-ass flora

out of the dogs’ paws. Extraction is grim affair the chief characteristics of which are blood and agony, for all parties.

On the upside, I’m hatching a plan to make a little extra dough-re-mi by figuring out how to weaponize’em.

Actual size: about 5mm in diameter.

Nov 17

Stella takes it in the teeth

Dr Evans floats StellaI thought I might go a week without a veterinary encounter of the third kind. Ha! Just as I was burrowing into the couch with crone-appropriate shawl over my shoulders and a big steaming bowl of jambalaya in my lap, my hateful iPhone chirped the news that it was time for Stella’s 6-month dental checkup.

As a world-renowned expert on equine dentition, you can take it from me that nothing good, wallet-wise, can come of looking a horse in the mouth. Horse teeth wear into razors over time, and they have to get filed down at least once a year lest the sharp edges ulcerate the tongue and cause demonic possession. Nice, right?

Luckily for my vet, Stella has horrible teeth. They’re all cracked and broken and unevenly worn. Some of’em grow, some of’em don’t. One was partially removed by a quack horse doctor and teeters just this side of “we have to extract it” at all times. So she gets the business every six months, poor kid.

I say “poor kid” because, like all things equine-related, floating horse teeth is a dreadful affair. I mean, imagine if you went to the dentist and they tied your head down, stuck a speculum in your gob, and came at you with a power drill. Without anesthesia.

Barbarism (and expense) in equine dentistry has progressed by orders of magnitude since I was a kid on the farm. Back then, we’d just stick a twitch on’em and the blacksmith (that’s what we called farriers back then) would run his rasp back and forth a few times, ten bucks, end of story. Nowadays, the DVM tools out in a German SUV chauffeured by his lovely assistant. They sedate the horse just to the tipping point (as in, if you poked her, she’d tip over). They stuff her head in a sling, and then pry open her jaw with a steel speculum. Out come the head lamps and borescopes and power tools. Grind, scrape, grind, scrape. Two hundred bucks.

On top of that, if the vet happens to be this one particular comedian who shall remain nameless, you have to endure him cracking wise the whole time. Which, painful as that is, is better than hearing him say, “Looks like she’s got infected pus-pockets and two molars are gonna have to come out.” Which is what he said when he looked young Pearl in the mouth last spring. That was a nasty shock from which I have yet to fully recover.

Happily, Stella survived the assault and will live to chomp another day.

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