holzman_tweed: (Default)
So [livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens tagged me for this meme. I don't transmit viral memes even when I opt to do them, so I won't be tagging anyone, but the idea is to list five celebrities you'd do. I'm moved by musicians more than I am by movie stars, and that informs my picks. 'Lux also said to talk about why you'd do them, and in each case it's the same for me: a) Look at them! b) Listen to them!
We cut because we care [image heavy] )
holzman_tweed: (Default)
On Thursday, [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl and I saw the Dalai Lama speak about the Buddhism's Four Noble Truths at Radio City Music Hall. [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl has practiced Tibetan Buddhism for years and we of course talk about these things, so we both know about it; but we've both seen in her Buddhist and my Wiccan practices that it's often the basics that have the most in them to find and are always worth coming back to, and who better to have another go at it with than the Dalai Lama?

We were not disappointed. My several take-aways from the talk:

  • "No Mind" or "Emptiness" does not mean achieving a nullity of ego, but a loss of the idea that one is independent of the world rather than interdependent.
  • The call of suffering is ignorance. Prior translations say "attachment," but attachment stems from ignorance. I knew this, but it's good to hear it from his lips; and that the cure for ignorance is knowledge.
  • A paraphrase: No how polluted the water may be, the water itself remains pure. Again, I knew this, but it explains a point I sometimes take paragraphs to get out in a single sentence.
  • Wisdom and enlightenment come from doing the work, not from initiation. Once again, I knew this one too, and wish more of my fellow Wiccans got it, but here's a paraphrase of how he put it: A lineage won't make you enlightened. Water on the head will not make you enlightened. I've had a thousand initatiations, easy. [Insert shrug here.] No help! I'm still not enlightened!
holzman_tweed: (Default)
...and, alas, the stereotype about fen needing it is all to true.

As an auditor, my job is to listen ("audit" means "listen") to my auditees and determine what the story is. A frequent criticism of a poor audit report is that it doesn't tell "the real story." (Insert Stephen R. Donaldson reference here.) Finding and pointing out the real story is a skill that translates to other parts of life. For example...

When a writer exposes an editor of a supposedly respectable publication for using racist language in his professional communications, the real story is not that the writer published "private" mail. The real story is that an editor at a supposedly respectable publication used racist language in his professional communications, sullying his reputation and that of any publication that employs him.

When an editor for a supposedly respectable publication who is exposed for using racist language in his professional communications calls foul because someone exposed his racism, the real story is not that a "private" e-mail was published. The real story is that an editor at a supposedly respectable publication tried to use his preferred social customs to hide the fact that he used racist language in his professional communications, further sullying his reputation and that of any publication that employs him.

When editors from other supposedly respectable publications criticize the writer for exposing that editor , the real story is not that a "private" e-mail was published. The real story is that Editors of supposedly respectable publications are providing cover for an editor who used racist language in his professional communications, sullying their reputations and that of any publication that employs them."

Shame on them all.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Jesse Helms now comes before his God for judgment, called at last to account for a life of unrepentantly starving the hungry, parching the thirsty, casting out the stranger, and neglecting the sick and imprisoned.

"As you have done to the least of these, so have you done unto me" -- attributed to Jesus by Matthew

"I doubt you're going to enjoy the next few thousand years very much" -- attributed to Morpheus by Neil Gaiman
holzman_tweed: (Default)
I'm writing this post to test out ScribeFire, which appears to be superior to deepest sender because of superior integration into the browser window, coming and going when I want it to rather than being a separate window. (I prefer tabs to windows pretty much fanatically).

I've just updated to Firefox 3. I know it may surprise some of you to realize I'm not really a bleeding-edge technology kind of guy, but I do enough of that at work that when I'm at home I just want things to work. I held off on the upgrade until the add-ons I like had upgraded.

Maybe I'll post more if it's more trivial to write up what I want to write about...
holzman_tweed: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] stoneself posted a sort of challenge in [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite regarding how to explain one of the most insidious things about race: the fact that it has no basis in biology whatsoever. Part of the challenge is posting about it in one's own blog, which is simple enough, and here it is:

Race is not a biological category. Race is a legal category. You are the race you are because a legislative body, judicial body, or both -- backed up by a bunch of people with guns -- said that you are. Nothing more, nothing less.

To many who read this journal, this is nothing new. To some, it may be a shocking notion. Don't take my word for it, do the research. Start by reading White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race by Ian Haney Lopez. It lays out how the definition of race in the US developed, how people got categorized and recategorized by congress and the supreme court, how this happened as a result of politics and not science. You'll learn about who Syrians went from being non-white to being white, and right back to being non-white again all based on a series of supreme court rulings spread over 2 or 3 decades.

To some, it's tempting to conclude that race isn't real. That's an inaccurate conclusion. Race is law, and laws are very real. Just because something is bullshit, doesn't mean it isn't real.
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George Carlin has passed on.

How many comedians does it take to change a light bulb?

Six: One to change the light bulb and five to note that Carlin already did it.

But seriously, folks, I'm dissatisfied with all the "seven words" commemorations. Yes, it's what he was most famous for. Yes, his career has very largely based on the humor to be found in words, in idiom and colloquialism.

But there's also a large part of what he had to say that is erased if all we think about is the "seven words you can't say on television." Let us also remember thirty words he did say on TV:

"America, there's something wrong with us. It's like this illness we have: We can't go twenty years without dropping bombs on brown-skinned people with whom we have no quarrel."

Let's remember them because at least some of the people who are cramming the seven words down your throats right now do so hoping you won't remember the thirty words.
holzman_tweed: (metalhead)
I went to see Iron Maiden in Camden last night. Sold out crowd -- in fact I went to Camden because they had already sold out Madison Square Garden. And pretty much every venue they've played all over the US and Canada. And everywhere else -- the tour kicked off in Mumbai. The latter is less surprising: Metal has stayed huge outside the US.

People unfamiliar with Iron Maiden might have thought the concert was a "best of" show. People more familiar with Iron Maiden would recognize that the 2-hour setlist only covered half their career (1980 - 1992) and could have been a 4-hour setlist and still qualified as a "best of..." I would have liked them to include some more recent stuff, but I do recognize there wasn't much space to cram it in.

There was a moment of optimism about the band's staying power when Bruce took a poll and we discovered that about 80% of the audience hadn't been born yet when Powerslave was released in 1984.

As usual, Bruce also dropped some knowledge between songs. First with some class analysis around the fact that the people in the back sitting on the lawn are just as die-hard fans as the people right up at the stage, but the tickets for the orchestra and pit are pretty expensive and many people simply can't afford 'em; later with the underlying environmentalist message of Rime of the Ancient Mariner -- which he admits hadn't occurred to him in '84.

Look for the new album in June, I'm hearing. Which should mean more touring. Yay!
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Dear Erica,

You make much hay out over the fact that Obama referred to a female reporter as "Sweetie." You'll be pleased to know, or perhaps you won't because it refutes your narrative, that he called her personally to apologize, saying "I mean no disrespet, so I am duly chastened on that front."

That's leadership. That's accountability. Traits notably lacking in Hilary Clinton, for example regarding her vote to go to war with Iraq for no good reason; or her failure to oppose the erosion of our civil liberties.

Also a trait notably lacking in yourself, for example regarding your penchant for referring to Obama as "buck and "boy."


holzman_tweed: (Default)
Finding a good place to buy and smoke cigars can be a challenge in New York City. There's places like J&R, which are sort of the Costco of cigar shops: you go there because the prices are good, but the selection is what they happened to get a good price on. If your taste tends towards the midrange of flavor complexity, or towards medium-full body at best, that can be a good way to go. There's places like Nat Sherman, where you're in luck if you like the house brand, but selection beyond that is very limited. There's places like the Havana Room, where if you're reading this you likely have too few zeros in the bank to get in the door, let alone shop.

And then there's the Renaissance Cigar Emporium in Harlem. Located at 1825 Madison (between 118 & 119 St.), you walk into a sizable lounge. Your choices for seating range from stools to ornate leather chairs and overstuffed leather sofas. There's coffee on hand, and the crowd is a very friendly and diverse one. John, the store's owner, is a consummate host and as knowledgeable about his business as any tobacconist I've spoken to in any cigar room from New York to Jackson -- and more than several.

The cigar selection is smaller than some I've seen, but geared towards the higher end of quality without breaking the bank. I saw prices ranging from as little as $5 a stick to as high as $14-and-change for the 6x60 Camacho Triple Maduro. Cut the crap out of the competition's lineup, and I think he's actually got more to offer than I've seen at J&R, and if it's a cigar you wouldn't smoke, does it really matter how many varieties of it a shop offers? The flavor range is suited to fit any taste, mild to... well, I did say he's got the Triple Maduro in. There's also a house brand, but they were out when I visited -- I can only see this as a good sign and something to look forward to when I return.

If your taste runs towards something out of your own humidor rather than his, that's OK to: a sign on the wall announces a $10.00 cutting, lighting, and corkage fee. As I noted, it's an attractive and relaxing environment, even with two TVs and several conversations. Amenities such as chess boards, readin material, and private lockers for lease are also on hand. The regulars are welcoming of newcomers, and come in from as far as New Jersey for access to this space. It's also a refreshing experience to sit in a cigar lounge and not be surrounded by Republicans.

If you're reading my blog, you're probably aware of issues around gentrification and want to be part of the solution rather than the problem. No fears with RCE: Founders Johnny Drake and Harold Span are local. From their "About Us" page:Renaissance will further contribute to Harlem's rebirth of social style, comfort and history. Its appeal is intended to be broad-based, for neighborhood smokers as well any downtown executive looking to unwind or network with colleagues.

For my money, they deliver. If you smoke, I look forward to seeing you there.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Quoting [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl in her entirety:

I know quite a few people on my friendslist who know children, have children, or who are self-professed "geeks" themselves - lovelies, have I got a goldmine for you!

Spectrum Scientifics is a science supply store for all ages, owned and operated by my oldest friend, Matt Kriebel. For those of you in the Philadelphia area, the shop is at 4403 Main Street in Manayunk, surrounded by lots of other neat shopping, an excellent coffeeshop, and in general, Manayunk is a really pretty area. For those of you not in the area, the webshop is just now up and running.

Matt has been in the science education field for as long as I've known him, some 15 years now, starting with doing a traveling science show for the Franklin Institute, and moving on to working with various science supply/telescope vendors. This shop is his baby, and I really, really want to see it do well. He has high standards for the products he sells, and really cares about providing the best, both in terms of affordability and quality. Besides, he carries a working catapult building kit. I want one. Also stuffed brain cells. The perfect gift! : )

Seriously, he's an excellent fellow, with an excellent shop. Look around, and spread the word. Thank you!
holzman_tweed: (Buffalo)
This was originally intended as a comment to [livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens about a post in her LJ about White Pustule Woman[1], but I decided it was worth putting here.

WPW, for those who don't know, is a white woman who claims titles such as "medicine woman," "drumkeeper" and "shaman." She trades on prophecies she claims are Navaho and Hopi in origin, even though she is neither Navaho nor Hopi. Recently, the people whose traditions she has been pirating for her financial benefit have been calling her out on it, and she has been demonstrating that her dream that "all pathways to wholeness are respected by all cultures" does not extend to herrespecting those pathways to wholeness that she claims to walk when those who actually are the keepers of those ways tell her, "You're doing it wrong!"

It is nothing new for the people of the First Nations to speak against those who steal their ways. The Lakota outright declared war on them in the '90s. This is just the latest round in that war. The particular tactic WPW has adopted this time around is to state:

I believe the teachings of earth based spirituality are the right of every person to practice!

You know what? It's true: we all live on the earth, there she is right under your feet, go right ahead and worship her if you feel so moved. People have been doing that the world over for as long as there have been people!

You know what else? Having the right to earth based spirituality does not mean having the right to every earth based spirituality. I practise and teach what some call an "earth based spirituality." No one has a right to learn what I teach: whom I accept as a student is between the Great Ones and I, and if someone started going around claiming to be a Witch and citing me as their teacher they'd be lying. Worse, they'd be lying to the Great Ones. Worse still, they'd be stealing my name. If they were charging people for religious services on the basis of that fraudulent claim, it would only exacerbate matters.

Stealing someone's name is the sort of thing for which hexes are not overreactions.

I've got worse news for White Pustule Woman: The Great Ones are not mocked. They know their own. They know when a thief comes before them. They have a way of letting someone know they're not amused at their pompous bullshit, and it ain't pretty.

But as I'm writing this, I wonder if it's even accurate to call the traditions she's stealing from "earth based spirituality." That's not a term I've ever seen defined to my satisfaction, and I don't much like it. Some may call what I teach "Earth-based spirituality," but I don't -- I call it Witchcraft. And while I may recognize similarities between it and what I occasionally glimpse of various people's religious paths, I also see some differences.

From what I've seen, from what practitioners of the various paths of the First Nations, the ATRs, etc. tell me there is a heavy focus on community. If you're not a part of the people, you're not a part of the path. If you're not living, dying, celebrating, suffering, and struggling with the people on a day to day basis, you're not a part of the community. I'd call that a "community-based spirituality" rather than an "earth-based" one, the latter title seeming to depend on an assumption that being on the same rock circling the same sun provides people who have never and will never meet -- let alone people who only met because one colonized the other -- the same bond that families, neighbors, communities have for one another.

And that's bullshit.

So I join[3] the growing chorus of First Nation practitioners, of ATR practitioners, of those who heed the Great Ones regardless of the names by which they reveal themselves to us by saying: White Pustule Woman[4], knock off the bullshit. Find your own voice, find the Great Ones on your own path, find your own Name.

[1] No link, I will not support this woman.[2]
[2] Google likely won't help either, that's not actually what she calls herself.
One's right to choose one's name ends at the point where one undertakes to defraud.
[3] As I have for decades.
[4] And all her foul ilk, they know who they are.


May. 1st, 2008 07:46 pm
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Debora Jean Palfrey "Suicide"

Ms. Palfrey said since the '90s that if she ever turned up a suicide, be certain she was murdered.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jadegirl I spent part of last week visiting my in-laws in north-east Philly. They don't have internet access, so I had to trek to the local coffee shop for the free wifi. On the weekends, the local conservatives hang out there, as it turns out.

They were mourning the fact that the best their party could come up with was John McCain for president, and I was staying out of the conversation. My ability to keep my mouth shut ended when they put forth the theory the credit banking started in 1913 when we moved off the gold standard.

This is all by way of introduction. I'm sure everyone reading this blog understands what that theory isn't worth a Continental.

The conversation continued, and eventually they asked me who I liked for President. I replied that I had voted for Obama.

One of them asked me, "Why would you vote for a black man?"

The quote is direct. No sense of irony, no joke, the man was seriously asking me why I would vote for a black man. The man seriously thought that I, as a white man, should not consider it thinkable to vote for a black man.

I'm sure I don't have to point out to anyone the various ways that message has been put forth during this campaign in encoded form. But this guy was putting it on the table in plain English with no room for misunderstanding.

Did I mention that I was in Jackson, MS for two weeks before this? When I was sharing company with conservatives down there, race wasn't the issue at all, the fact that he was a Democrat was sufficient reason not to vote for him. This was right here in the North.

It's less relevant to the story, but my answer was, "Why wouldn't I vote for a black man?" He explained to me that black people only vote for black candidates, and fair is fair.

I swear I'm not making that answer of his up. I asked him if he was saying that black people didn't vote in November 2004 when their choices were two white guys. I didn't get an answer because one of his cronies cut him off, saying, "You can't ask an intelligent guy like this a stupid question like that."

You might think they were taking him to task for his racism, but look closely. Their objection wasn't to the fact that he thought being black was sufficient reason not to vote for him, it was to the fact that he didn't get the memo about how to encode that idea. One even wanted to argue that Obama's half-white, so it's OK to him. Note that the underlying principle remained unchallenged.

I've only had part of a day to process this, so I may post more about it later, but there it is.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
There's been alot of noise from certain white feminists of late ahemNOWNYahem calling out people like Teddy Kennedy for not supporting Hilary Clinton over Barack Obama. There's been alot of talk about the "historic" opportunity to vote for a woman for President, and the notion has been put on the table that failing to support Clinton is somehow disloyal to feminism, prefering a man -- even a black one -- over a woman -- even a white one.

We are also assured this is about supporting women and/or feminism, and not racism, oh no not at all.

It's just occurred to me to ask a question:

Where the fuck was all their outrage in 2004 when Carol Mosley Braun was running for the Democratic nomination for President, and people were backing white guys like Kerry?
holzman_tweed: (metalhead)
This was written by Dan Kurtzman as part of his book How To Win a Fight With a Conservative. It's worth reading, considering, and passing along.

Liberal Manifesto

Liberals believe in clean air, diplomacy, stem cells, living wages, body armor for our troops, government accountability, and that exercising the right to dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Liberals believe in reading actual books, going to war as a last resort, separating church and hate, and doing what Jesus would actually do, instead of lobbying for upper-class tax cuts and fantasizing about the apocalypse.

Liberals believe in civil rights, the right to privacy, and that evolution and global warming aren’t just theories but incontrovertible scientific facts.

Liberals believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment that (1) prohibits another Bush from ever occupying the White House, and (2) prevents George W. Bush from ever becoming baseball commissioner before he does to our national pastime what he did for America.

Liberals believe in rescuing people from flooded streets and rooftops, even if they’re too poor to vote Republican.

Liberals believe that supporting our troops means treating our wounded vets like the heroes they are, and not leaving them to languish in rat-infested military hospitals under the outsourced management of incompetent cronies who think they’re running a Taco Bell franchise.

Liberals believe in pheromones, sex ed, solar panels, voting paper trails, the common good, and that, no matter how fascinating a story it may be, a president should never sit around in a state of total paralysis reading "My Pet Goat" while America is under attack.

And above all, liberals believe that it’s time to come together as a country and put a collective boot in the ass of shameless conservative fearmongers, hate merchants, and scapegoaters who are sucking the freedom out of all our souls.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
And now for the personal post.

I've haven't posted in a while for a number of reasons.

One is, I don't post alot.

One is, I've been very busy.  More about this in a moment.

One is, what time I've had free I've been spending with [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl.

One is, I've been reorganizing my life in response to developments in my health. In December, I was diagnosed with Diabetes. On an emotional level, it was overwhelming until [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl I started doing research and understanding what it is and what it's implications are. Before anyone starts worrying, I am suffering from none of the side effects of Diabetes, even the more benign ones such as constant thirst. My only symptom is the diagnostic criteria: a fasting blood sugar above 125 mg/dL. So far, we're controlling this with medication and diet.

On a practical level, it's more complicated. Being overweight, particularly around the belly, is highly correlated with an impaired glucose tolerance -- not to mention other health issues. I'm not willing to starve myself, so I've been spending alot of time shifting what I cook in order to eat enough to not be hungry; enjoy what I'm eating; and lose weight.

Truth to tell, that's been a fun proces. [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl's shifted what she bakes with.

In some ways, I'm ahead of the game. I was already losing weight, to the extent that I dropped a waist size in November. At this point, I really need some time to get to a tailor and get my clothes taken in. Clothing that fit when I bought it in college is now baggy. Most of the dietary advice my Doctor has for me doesn't apply to me because I don't shop in supermarkets, I go to Union Square every week and by from farmers.

On this front, I'm optimistic.

On the other hand, as I write this I'm traveling on business. I've done that before, but rarely for more than a week. I've been here for a week, and will be here for another week.

But I'm in Jackson, Mississippi. Mississippi's the state that thought electing Trent Lott was a good idea. Driving around, I've found at least one house flying the traitor flag from a flagpole in its front yard. And the local favorite delicacy everyone wants me to try is -- wait for it -- deep fried pickles. This is not my beautiful home. But I have found a Viet Namese place, and pho is my friend. And I've found a Thai place, and they have dishes I haven't seen in the NY or Chicago Thai places.

On the plus side, I think I've started finding parts of Jackson that show promise. I don't have to work tomorrow, so I'll be checking that out more. (Most people who travel fly home for weekends, but we figure I'd have less than a day of functional leisure.)
holzman_tweed: (Default)
It's been a while since I've posted, so I'm doing two -- one political, one personal.  This one's the political.

There's a scam being perpetrated by the Republicans in their primary right now, don't be fooled.  The scam works like this:  Well known right wing whack jobs make all sorts of noise about McCain being too liberal for them, to the point at which they'll vote for the Democratic candidate, even if it's the Dreaded Hilary.  Their hope is that this will convince someone that McCain's moderate rather than a right wing whack job.  The show is embellished by Huckabee staying in the campaign in order to make McCain look moderate in comparison.  What a campaign slogan:  McCain -- he's not as batshit insane as Huckabee.

Don't be fooled.  McCain describes himself as a Reagan Republican.  He is and always has been anti-choice.  He is and always has been corrupt -- he only discovered campaign reform as a cause when he realized he needed to rehabilitate his image after his role in the S&L failure of the early '90s.  If elected, he will continue the disasterous policies of Reagan, Bush, and Bush.
holzman_tweed: (Mirror falls)
December 17 is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

"This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally thought of by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington. International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from over 100 cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence. During the week of December 17th, sex worker rights organizations will be staging actions and vigils to raise awareness about violence that is commonly committed against sex workers. The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Existing laws prevent sex workers from reporting violence. The stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by the prohibitionist laws has made violence against us acceptable"

x-posted to my LJ, [livejournal.com profile] feminist, and [livejournal.com profile] sex_and_race.
holzman_tweed: (Too young)
You only have to pass one kidney stone in order to recognize the onset of the second one, even if years pass between the two events.

Alas, the path to this revelation is to experience the second one, ever so reminiscent of so many Republican presidential administrations.

At least this time I understood what was happenning early enough to arange for appropriate pain killers and start drinking lots of water right up front. Because, feeling like I do right now, I'm sure I'd be ready to kill or die if I was feeling what's going on right now without the filter of that PK.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
So the whole damn point of taking [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl with me to Reading while I dealt with $client there was so that we'd be in striking distance of the Penn Ren Faire, one of the finest I've ever been to.

$client has it's IT folks in a basement.  Canned, recycled air.  One person brings in a germ, everyone gets it.

Well, you'll never guess what.

That's right:  Tuesday night I'm a wreck, Wednesday I call in sick, Thursday and Friday I tough it out because I need to.

Brings us to today. I start getting dressed for Faire, Jade asks me if she thinks this is a good idea, my answer is "No, but I really want to." That bravado lasted until I got my boots on and felt like I needed a nap to recover.

So I'm back home now, because we skipped Faire and drove home. Even driving home took its toll, and I'm a wreck now. But I'm an "in the last stages" wreck, and I think I'll escape going laryngitic this time.


Core Dump

Oct. 25th, 2007 02:42 am
holzman_tweed: (cavalier)
Lots on my mind for some days, but little or no time. In no particular order:

You recall when they started talking about a War on Terror we warned that we'd soon see the label "terrorist" thrown at everyone anyone wanted to suppress. If you read my journal, there's also good odds that you nodded to yourself when the New Zealand government started rounding up Maori and labeling them terrorists. For many, New Zealand is a far way away. For me, it's personal.

cut for photo )

I met Kiritapu Allen through Be Present, and I call her friend. She's not one of the people who have been arrested, but they are friends of hers. However, the pigs[1] have been to her home, have done their level best to intimidate her, and have intimated that if they decide they want to trump some shit up against her, they'll be back to do that.

It's bullshit, folks. And it's bullshit people are going to have to defend against, and that costs -- you guessed it -- money. If you love justice, please consider sending some love to:

Conscious Collaborations
Po. Box 91

Wire or Transfer Details:

Bank account is:
Conscious Collaborations Charitable Trust
389 005 0969 05700

Bank Name: KiwiBank
Kiwibank Limited
155 The Terrace
Wellington 6332
New Zealand.

SWIFT: bknznz22

But don't stop there, or if you can't give right now don't start there. Contact Amnesty International and ask them when they're planning to say something about it. Write to your local New Zealand diplomatic staff and complain. If you are in a position to do so, organize a protest. Organize a boycott.

[1] People who know me understand how far things have gone for me to use that term to refer to those who I once accorded respect as police officers, which is a just and honorable vocation.

I spoke to Grandma today -- she lives in Laguna Hills. She says they haven't had to evacuate... yet. They're in a pocket that isn't on fire, but there's smoke everywhere.

I'm writing this from the "Quality" Inn in Reading, PA. [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl and I are here because I've got a client in the area. I was sick today, which kind of sums up how things have been going outside the office. On the bright side, we bumped into [livejournal.com profile] firinel, [livejournal.com profile] marnanel;, Riordan, and two others whose names I did not retain while randomly shopping. That was immensely cool.
holzman_tweed: (blood and heart)
Usually, when anti-racist activist Tim Wise writes an essay, I agree with him in the main but differ with him in some of the details. This time around, he nailed it. All I can say is "co-sign."
holzman_tweed: (Default)
First of all, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] unclevlad

[livejournal.com profile] jadegirl and I went to the Nightwish concert tonight. Awesome show.

We went to Faeriecon last week, and I've been meaning to post about it, specifically about some of the discussion that happened around race issues, but I've been too harried to sit down and do it. Reading, PA last week; Reading, PA next week.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Not actually relevant to any specific client, but it popped into my head and I had to run with it:

This control environment does not function as described. It's smoke and mirrors, vaporware, thunder and sound signifying naught, much ado about nothing, poppycock, boulderdash, the lights are on but nobody's home, several quarts shy of a gallon! It's preventative and detective capabilities are of interest only to divinators!
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Following up my last post,

"Here, sir, is a description of the document, or in any case certain particulars thereunto,"  say they.
"That is all well and good, but I must have the actual document," say I.
"What, they require you to reproduce the very document in exactitude?"
"I fear, as I have said a thousand times I am sure, that this is a hallmark of audits."
"Well, sir, I commisserate with you, for it strikes me that your superiors do not trust your word very much at all."
"They trust it in the extreme, sir.  It is my memory they do not trust, and with good reason."
"Then they hide it with undue diligence."
"Perhaps, but with reason..."
"I pray you tell me."
"Sparing your interruption, I shall begin:  They will believe me today, but in a year or two when the audit is performed again, my successor in this post will review the reports and workpapers and other such instruments as I develop."
"That is only reasonable.  I pray your pardon for interrupting, but I am so overcome I could not contain myself."
"To continue, if they are not in good order in every particular, they will not understand the chain of reasoning I use to come to my conclusions.  Consequently, they will curse me for a fool and a lackwit, and my reputation will be ruined.  As you can well perceive in my line of work, one's reputation is vital."
"The nerve of them!  How dare they?  Could they possibly do such a thing?"
"Indeed, Sir, I assure you:  Much in the way I curse the name of the lackwit who performed this audit for you last year."
"You have my sympathy sir, for Auditors seem a strict and humorless bunch."
"We are indeed strict, and our humor can escape many.  And yet..."
"They would have a point."
"Thus, I need the full document, not merely a description of some of the particulars thereunto."
"Shall I give it to you then?"
I rolling eyes heavenward. "And truly, this never ends!"[1]

[1] OK, this breaks the pattern, but it's a shoutout to those of my college-folk who recall Prof. Harold Wright's <i>Ogata Gomi</i>.  Come to think of it, I could write up many audits in that style as well...
holzman_tweed: (Default)
...is the opportunity to live out my wildest fantasies. 

Hear me out.

So often of late, for example, I feel like I'm living in a Dumas novel. (Or perhaps, one of [livejournal.com profile] skzb's Phoenix Guard stories.

"Please send me the documentation," I say.
"What, you want me to send you documentation?" They say.
"Indeed, if you please."
"But I've already told you."
"So you have. And yet..."
"I must have documentary evidence."
"What is this? Do you claim my word is insufficient? I'll have you know I am a man of honor, Sir!"
"I would never do myself the honor of questioning the plain honesty of your given word, Sir. The fact remains that I am required to document the claims that I make regarding what I see when I perform an audit."
"Well, that is a different matter entirely."
"To return to my point, sir, I must reiterate my request for this famous documentation."
"Shall I send it to you, then?"
"The Horse! I think it has been an hour since I have asked for anything else!"
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Today I flew home from my Las Vegas/Laguna Hills/Los Angeles conference/vacation/work. As luck would have it, James Avery was on my flight. It's my policy not to squee in celebrity's faces when they're not doing celebrity things, so I filed it under "Kinda Cool Things That Happen."

On the plane waiting to sit, ahead of me is Clueless White Person, who asks him, "Weren't you on The Cosby Show," to which he responded, "Not Cosby, no." CWP was quite bewildered, because she was certain she had seen him on Cosby, and he kept repreating, "Not Cosby, no."

Being a professional actor, it should be no surprise that if he felt any irritation it didn't show.

I made an exception to my policy and said, "Excuse me, I just wanted to say I've enjoyed your work," to which he replied "Thank you."

Moments later, CWP realized that it was The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire that he'd been on, and she started sharing with the entire plain her amazement that she mixed up which show he was on, and how could she possible have done that?
holzman_tweed: (Default)
...would have to happen when I'm traveling on business and pleasure, right?

Anyhow. This is pretty much directed at a white audience.

A common defense mechanism I've seen people use to avoid dealing with racism and how it has and continues to benefit them is the "fight the guilt trip" defense.

Sure, all these bad things happened, but I didn't do it! Why do you want me to feel guilty about it? How long do I have to feel guilty about it?

The above pretty much sums it up.

Fact is, I've never ran into someone who actually wanted me to feel guilty about the fact that I benefit from the system of white privilege our society is based on. No matter on what other axes I might be oppressed. That guilty feeling was all coming from inside. It was coming from inside because I was still working under an understanding of racism that said "racism is what Klansmen do," rather than "racism is a broad societal system of oppression." That first model can be kind of comforting, because if it's true, then all you have to do is not do what Klansmen do, and you're home free, right?

But that's bullshit.

But the point I'm getting at is no one wanted me to feel guilty about it. Lots of people wanted me to cop to it, and that defensive jump to fighting the guilt trip takes to focus off of what's real -- and emotionally dangerous -- and puts it on what's not -- and not.

Eventually, I stopped doing that. Or at least I got better at noticing when I was doing that, acknowledging that my head was throwing bullshit at me, and stopping my knee from jerking.

So if you feel that urge, pause and ask yourself if anyone actually wants you to feel guilty, or if they just want you to stop bullshitting yourself and them. If you figure out what I figured out and you still feel guilty, ask yourself why. If there's an opportunity to recognize and change a wrong action, welcome it, do it, and thank the guilt for pointing it out to you. If it's just an old tape, name it as such and let it go.
holzman_tweed: (pigs)
I'm running into a common misunderstanding elsewhere.

"Chocolate ice cream is yummy" is an opinion. It's a subjective statement of one's experience. It's not subject to being right or wrong.

"I find that sexually desiring a woman interferes with my ability to have a friendship with them" is a subjective analysis of one's experience. Someone who says such a thing is unlikely to be wrong, they are describing the way their thoughts and feelings currently work, even if they may change in the future.

"No man would be willing to have any relationship with a woman if they can't have sex with them exclusively" is a refutable assertion of fact. It is subject to being confirmed right or rejected as factually incorrect. Asserting that it is an opinion and therefore cannot be wrong demonstrates limited reading comprehension and analytic limitations.

[1] Not a random example, the topic is an examination of the question of whether or not men and women can have "true" friendships, and the validity of the analysis provided in the movie "When Harry Met Sally."
holzman_tweed: (something in the water)
...where I'm taking an "Advanced Database Hacking Security Assessment" Class.

Buying the presenters tool (names withheld to protect the guilty) is not an advanced technique.
Logging in with unchanged default passwords is not an advanced technique.
SQL injection is not an advanced technique.
Buffer overflow is not an advanced technique.
Uploading a backdoor using documented database file handling functions is not an advanced technique.

Unless I'm far, far more 3133^ than I think I am.

Of course, it's only 10 AM on day 2 of the class, so maybe the meat is yet to come. I'll edit and give credit if I learn a technique I didn't already know.

On the other hand, one of my classmates asked what the "foo" command does. I swear by whatever God[1] is closest at hand I am not making that up.

11:26 EDIT: It's not just me -- even the guy who wanted to know what the "foo" command does is browsing the web instead of being engrossed in these advanced 3133^ hax0r sk1llz.

[1] Given that I'm in Las Vegas, that's probably Mammon.
holzman_tweed: (metalhead)
Of course, after the twilight of the Gods, a new age begins.

The analogy holds:  This morning, we got up, went to the farmers market in front of the store where a mere 8 hours ago there had been a mob scene (meaning we missed a chance to meet [livejournal.com profile] shadowfae and [livejournal.com profile] voudou_chile).  After that, we stopped at the Strand Bookstore, where I got the book for $20 and no line whatsoever.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Original by[livejournal.com profile] yeloson, also cross posted to [livejournal.com profile] sex_and_race:

"OMG! Call in the PC police!"

Politically correct. The reason you should not call someone a racist genocidal slur is because it's bad politics. Not because you respect them as a human being, not because you think randomly insulting people for no real reason is asinine, not because you believe in anything other than white supremacy[1].

Because really.

When you think you have the right to insult people with words, images, or stereotypes that HAVE killed people, and that taking it away is some kind of hassle, that's white supremacy. You get the right to hurt and demean people just because of your skin color, and their right to demand basic human respect doesn't matter in the face of that.

Obviously, if YOU have no problem doing this, the problem isn't YOU, right? It has to be those annoying people who keep getting upset all the time over something that isn't bothering YOU, and if it isn't bothering YOU, it's not a problem, right? So if they would just stop getting upset, YOU could go live your life in peace, right?

If I gagged and muffled you so you didn't complain or scream when I cut off your arm, then it must be ok, right? After all, you didn't complain this time. Maybe if I shot you full of morphine first, so you didn't feel it, it'd be good. After all, I wouldn't feel any pain, and it's no problem for me, therefore it's not a problem.

Of course, were I to do so, you'd call the police. And I couldn't go, "Oh, but look, here you are trying to be anatomically correct" and roll my eyes and get off by saying, "I don't see what the big deal is, you're getting upset over nothing, you're oversensitive, see, I feel just fine!"

Oh but it's just words, not an arm, right?

But people kill themselves over self hate. People live scarred and hurt for their entire lifetimes because everyone who supposedly knew what they were talking about called them stupid and ugly. And unlike many things in this life, your DNA still as of yet cannot be changed, so you just have to live knowing the rest of your life you can't fix it.

Sort of like missing an arm.

So, I'm willing to make a deal. If you want the full right to not have people complain or "Call the PC police", I want the full right to cut off your arm and you not to call the real police.

I'm sure we'll have a happy get-a-long society then. We can all hold hands (or not) and sing Kumbayah.


[1] If male supremacy, heterosupremacy, or some other hegemony is your particular cup-of-oppression, I think it does little violence to the piece to read it as included. -- DBHT


Jun. 23rd, 2007 07:45 am
holzman_tweed: (WTF)
Oh, triple ripple butt plug with a flaming Jesus on top hell no, the Cokehead in Chief did not <a href="http://seamusd.livejournal.com/993967.html?mode=reply&style=mine">tell Kermit Ruffins</a> to "pick up all the trash</a>, even as a deliberate jest.


Jun. 13th, 2007 07:13 pm
holzman_tweed: (metalhead)
So I just got word that zombies got the entire Bush administration and made zombies out of all of them.

Yeah, I couldn't tell the difference, either, except that Bush and Tony Snow both sounded more articlulate today.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
I used to think it was pathetic that the Drunk couldn't find oil in texas, lost a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein, and coudn't get the Germans OR the Russians interested in a global domination scheme.

Now it turns out he can't even get his own kangaroo court to give him the verdicts he wants.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
When I look over the blogs of people I consider allies of clue and find deal-breaking posts to the left and to the right, the best thing for me is probably taking a dandelion break with [livejournal.com profile] jadegirl.  And that's why my life rocks so much.  But aside from that, it's nice that  I can count on <a href="http://sideshow.me.uk/smay07.htm#05220043">good ol' Avedon Carol</a> to deal out some serious, well clued analysis in the Sideshow
holzman_tweed: (WTF)
When Shirley Q Liquor and Isiah Washington were taking the front of people's attention, I discovered Jasmyne Cannick, a Black Lesbian activist. She had alot to say, some of which I agreed with and some of which not, and I figured I'd start reading her blog.

Some time passes, and she occasionally posts something way the hell off-base, but who doesn't?

Today, however, a potential dealbreaker got put on the table. Apparently, Ms. Cannick feels that only some Lesbians should get to show Pride in their sexuality at a pride parade, while Lesbians with sexual practices she dislikes should "keep that shit in the bedroom where it belongs."

Hypocracy so thick you can eat it with a fork, but use a sppon to get every drop.

Of course, the Lesbians who she feels don't get to show their pride are the Lesbians who have the same sort of sexuality interests I do. It's not hard to figure that by extension, she figures I shouldn't get to have and show pride about my sexuality.

You can't take that position and be my ally. You can't take that position and expect me to be your ally.

I've invited Ms. Cannick to a dialog about this, but if it doesn't happen, I fear we go our separate ways.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Yet another Republican legislator still innocent until proven guilty, this time of child molesting his foster children.
holzman_tweed: (Choose)
It didn't take long for some people to start spouting Jerry Falwell's apologia.

Every last one of them rings hollow, and I thought I'd offer up an apologia debunking guide.

I care alot. )
holzman_tweed: (greatest)
Now comes Jerry Falwell before his God to deliver a rather crucial sermon regarding Matthew 25:31-46.

"As you have done unto the least of My creatures, so have you done unto Me."
holzman_tweed: (something in the water)
This may be the best thing to happen to cinema since color film.

Think about it:  An R rating has been all important for getting the under-17 crowd in, whether with parents or not.  As a result, movies that could have been great have been marred by adding gratuitous sex and violence in order to avoid the dread PG or PG-13.  Thanks to  this brilliant innovation from the MPAA, all they have to do now is light up a cigarette and puff away while delivering the theatric greatness!

Not only that, they won't have to spend all that extra money on actors who'll take their clothes off and the latest *BOOM* special effects.

No word on how much Big Tobacco paid the MPAA for all the product placement opportunities resulting from the upcoming surge of smoking in movies.
holzman_tweed: (cane)
...now that he's <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6579335.stm">building a ghetto</a>[1] for Sunnis in Baghdad, or do we need to wait for actual concentration camps?

[1] In the original sense of the word.

Edit: [livejournal.com profile] docstrange, as usual is right -- it's premature to liken him to a Nazi yet. Tsar or Kaiser fits the bill a bit more closely.
holzman_tweed: (blood and heart)
OK, the stupid's gotten pretty thick on the ground, I guess it's time to deal on Don Imus' long-overdue shitcanning. Maybe I'm a little late to the game, but there's been plenty to keep up with.

In a nutshell, people shouldn't be upset that he got fired. People should be upset that he didn't get fired years ago. Now that sponsors have finally said he crossed the line, they should be asked to explain how it was that the thought he hadn't crossed that line years ago.

Myth: Don Imus was censored

Fact: Censorship is when the government throws you in jail or fines you for what you say or write. Censorship is when the government gets you to not say something because you're afraid of going to jail or getting fined. Censorship is not when people say that what you said is disgusting. Censorship is not when sponsors say they no longer want to be associated with you because you say disgusting things. Censorship is not when your employer fires you for saying something publicly in your capacity as their employee that they find inconsistent with their mission, let alone something that has no place in the public discourse.

Myth: Imus' freedom of speech was violated.

Fact: Imus retains the right to call anyone by whatever racial or sexual slurs he likes in his blog. He can also do it in a book he writes. He can even publish that book if no one wants to do it for him. He can stand in any public forum and do it. He can get a job at Faux Spews, where their editorial policy is that they've never met a racial or sexual slur they didn't like, and use them there. He can even buy his own TV station and set his own editorial policy.

There is no such thing as the freedom to get paid millions of dollars for causing your employer to lose millions of dollars in advertising revenue. There is no such thing as the freedom to get paid millions of dollars for abusing your employer's customers.

Myth: Imus got fired because he didn't adhere to a liberal politic.

Fact: Imus got fired because he used racial and sexual slurs to insult a woman's basketball team. It was not a matter of a political analysis being too strongly worded, nor was it a matter of him positing unpopular political ideas. Those who say this is an example of “political correctness” are right only in that “political correctness” is nothing more or less than rudeness.

Myth: Imus was fired for making an innocent mistake, he even apologized!

Fact: Imus called Gwen Ifill “the cleaning lady” at the Washington Post. He said the Williams sisters of tennis fame would make good centerfold models for National Georgraphic. Other slurs to other people have included “boner-nosed, beanie-wearing Jewboy,” “ragheads,” “animals” and more. He even hired a guy to be the mouth that uttered the slurs that he knew ahead of time he couldn't simply shrug off if they were direct from his mouth.

It's not innocent. It's not unintentional. Imus' use of racist and sexist slurs is comprehensive and longstanding. When called on it loudly enough, he usually apologizes – not unlike a domestic batterer apologizes to their victim and promises never to do it again for the umpteenth time. There comes a time in life when an apology repeated enough times without any actualy change in the behavior becomes meaningless.

Myth Imus was just trying to sound “down” by using terms he heard rappers use.

Fact It's not as rap invented misogyny. It's not as if rap has made a break from every other lyrical music form to come before it in including misogynist lyrics. If he was perusing rap lyrics, it was because he was trying to decide which racist and sexist slurs to use, not whether to use them.

Myth: It's a double standard that Imus got fired when rappers who write misogynist lyrics get published.

Fact:A publishing house acts as a disemenator of a broad variety of viewpoints, including those generally regarded as repulsive. A radio broadcaster is entrusted with a limited public asset – the airwaves. They have different missions and different ways to go about fulfilling them.

Dumb-assed rhetorical question: What about Jesse Jackson's “Hymietown” comment?

What about it? It cost him the Democratic nomination in '88. 20 years later he's still being taken to task for it. Perhaps Imus can spend the next 20 years rehabilitating himself and his image.
holzman_tweed: (Too young)
Yesterday was Yom Hashoah, the day when Israel remembers the Holocaust by shutting down for a few minutes as a siren is sounded.   The names of the dead are read out.

Republican presidential hopeful Tommy Thompson could not have possibly picked a worse day to tell an audience of Jews how much he admires us for having "making money" be a part of our culture.  If you need me to explain why, you're not sufficiently educated to have an adult conversation on matters of import: use the google and come back when you're culturally literate.  Suffice it to say that it's no more a compliment than admiring the typesetting job on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or thinking we came up with a particularly tasty cocktail mix to really perk up babies blood.

This day should mark the end of Thompson's campaign, as he's demonstrated irrefutably he does not know enough about the history of the nation or the people who live in it to be fit to be President.
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Could there possibly be a worse word to include in the job title of anyone in charge of anything having to do with war in Afghanistan than "Czar"?
holzman_tweed: (Default)
Gee, I wonder if the fact that posioned wheat could make it into pet food has anything to do with the drastic funding cuts Bush and the Republican congress handed out to the FDA. I mean, if you cut back on inspections of meat that humans are going to eat, how much is getting spent on what dogs and cats eat?

This is a great tragedy for the thousands who have lost their pets to the poisoned foods, and it's a great hassle to every one of us pet owners who are trying to feed their pets healthily, but did we just majorly dodge a bullet in that it could have just as easily been imported human food that had been tained with poison?

Don't expect the mainstream media to ask such questions anytime soon.


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