April 2009 Archives

Dentistry, Torture and Intent

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that dental work can really fucking HURT. But is it ever accurate to call it torture?

I was cursed with crappy teeth. All of them are extra small, most of them didn't start out where they were supposed to be, three of them never came in because they didn't exist in the first place, and one of them was grafted to my jawbone and thus impervious to the reshaping efforts of braces, on top of which it was malformed and looked like a teeny tiny little fang. When I was 22, a molar on the bottom left side broke one evening while I was eating a bowl of noodles at a dinner party in Taiwan, and three years later, the molar above it simply disintegrated one day, for absolutely no apparent reason.

In an effort to make my teeth look the way adult human teeth are supposed to look, I underwent all sorts of dental procedures. I had three orthodontists and two sets of braces, and I have three crowns and two bridges.

People whose jobs involve hurting me in some way--dentists, rolfers, electrologists--have occasionally told me that I have an exceptionally high pain threshold. "I don't think that's true," I said once. "It's not that these things don't hurt me; I just try to breathe through the pain and not freak out or cry, because I've learned the hard way that those things don't do any good." But I've been assured that when it comes to pain, I'm a model of stoic endurance.

We still can't figure out quite how it happened, but someone seemed to have exploited a weakness in the software of the platform I use for my blog, and inserted some nasty code that meant my blog was, well, sorta infected.

The problem has been corrected, but the cure has had some side effects--my blog roll has disappeared, for one thing. I'm working with a newer version of the platform, and it's pretty different, so it may take me a while to get everything working as I'd like.

If you accessed my blog in the last ten days, you should make sure your computer security is up to date, and scan it for viruses or other ickiness.

My apologies for any inconvenience.

An Anonymous Group That May or May Not Be....

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You've probably already seen this--it's on all the cool blogs. But to ensure that all three dozen people who check my blog with some frequency see it at least once, I'm posting it too.

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Excommunicate the War Criminal, Already!


Just in case anyone is unclear on the relationship of state-sanctioned and inflicted torture--and more particularly state-sanctioned tortured inflicted on political prisoners by a western army occupying some portion of the middle east--let me remind you that that's how Jesus died.

Jesus was tortured to death. The "Prince of Peace" (not the Prince of Abstinence, nor the Prince of Sobriety) was tortured to death. So if someone else also tortures people--maybe not to death, at least not on purpose--but as violently as possible without causing death ON PURPOSE, does that make the person or people doing the torture followers of A) the Prince of Peace or B) his executioners?

The Mormon church worked hard to say that the reason they excommunicated the guy who created the shirtless elder calendar wasn't because he created the shirtless elder calendar; it was because he had stopped wearing garments, didn't pay tithing and was inactive. This is pure bullshit. The church doesn't excommunicate inactive people who don't pay tithing, wear garments or attend church; it bullies and harasses them by sending home teachers, and devotes part of each General Conference to inviting them to come back to church. (My sister mentioned that when she heard that in the GC two weeks ago, she said to someone she was with, "Those people aren't listening!" No duh.)

The stated rationale for excommunicating the guy might have been that he didn't wear garments, but the reason he had to be disciplined was the calendar. He embarrassed the church. That was his real crime.

The Bad Boy of Mormon Culture

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Check out this complimentary article in the Washington Times on the role Sunstone plays in LDS culture. If you're not familiar with Sunstone, you'll get some sense of why, although it's by no means the only magazine I subscribe to, it's the only I read as soon as it arrives.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

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I love cats. I love little cats, I love big cats. I especially love tigers.

Spike sent me this link to a slide-show of portraits of 18 Bengal tigers. All 18 photos are really cool. I did not know there was ever such a thing as a "golden tabby Bengal tiger," much less than there are a mere 30 of them left in the whole wide world. I'm glad I got to see such amazing portraits of a few of them.

Here, kitty, kitty!

Sitting Goose

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Today has been nasty and rainy--not just a little damp, with occasional sprinkles, like Saturday, but soggy and windy and something you don't want to be out in. The weather people kindly informed us to expect exactly this sort of nastiness today, so I took advantage of yesterday's nice weather and spent a good chunk of the day outside.

I went to Red Butte Gardens, botanical gardens at the north edge of the U of Utah campus. I was attracted by their claim that they have 150,000 daffodils. They were nice, but not as lovely as the gardens I saw Saturday at Temple Square, frankly.

But these gardens have other attractions Temple Square doesn't--like all sorts of plants, stuff for children to play on, and a few big ponds with goldfish of varying sizes.

In one pond, I saw something I'd never seen before: a nesting goose. Her nest was in the pond and fairly exposed, which surprised me at first--I would have thought she'd choose something with more cover. Then it occurred to me that probably the biggest threat to her eggs' safety was people, who were more likely to leave her alone when she was in the middle of the pond. Here's the pond:

and here she is, on her nest:

I plan to go back in a month or so, and hope that I get to see little goslings learning to swim.

The Bulbs Go On

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I hope you had a happy Easter if you care about Easter. I don't, particularly, but I will say that yesterday was an absolutely glorious day, bright and calm and fine. I couldn't help thinking of people who had gotten new outfits, and and imagining how happy they would be to have such a lovely day to wear those new outfits. I was already in a good mood, but thinking of how happy so many other people would be, even if it involved a celebration I don't partake in, made me happier. That's how nice the weather was yesterday.

But I also liked Saturday, which was gray, damp and rainy. I spent Saturday afternoon with friends, and told them they HAD to visit Temple Square, because it's stunning right now. I swear, I've never seen anyplace as aggressive about planting bulbs as Salt Lake City--and the results are lovely. (I'm not saying there aren't other places that don't plant more, just that I haven't seen them.) I had already made a visit or two to TS to enjoy the bulbs--but it's just so hard to go there without being accosted by sister missionaries.

But I figured a damp Saturday evening, particularly when it was the evening before Easter, might be a good time to wander the gardens without being bothered by anyone wanting to chat me up about religion. And I was right! I got a few nods from people scurrying around without umbrellas, but not one was inclined to stop and talk to me, except for a guy sitting on a retaining wall right inside the gate to Temple Square. He had a large plastic cup of--something; he was so drunk I could smell the alcohol wafting off him even ten feet away. He asked my permission to say something he hoped wouldn't offend me, then told me I was a really good-looking lady. Since he didn't try to hit me up for change or ask me to hang out with him, I felt inclined to trust his sincerity, so I wished him a good evening, having had one myself.

And even though I suspected the light would be lousy and feared it might be too wet for photography, I took my camera. The light wasn't great, but the rain never became too heavy to interfere with taking a picture. So here are the results.

If you haven't noticed the sexualization of violence against women, you haven't been paying attention. A defense in rape trials is often that the accused was just doing what the victim liked: giving her violent sex. Women, our culture tries to tell us, like it rough.

But the truth is revealed by the fact that in images of women subjected to violent sex, the woman is rarely happy. She's crying. She's terrified. She's pleading and/or fighting for her life. The violence isn't a turn-on for the woman; it's a turn-on for the person or people about to harm her.

And it's a turn-on, apparently, for audiences. And anyone who intentionally and explicitly links sex and violence in order to titillate an audience is not only not a feminist, s/he is a misogynist. I'm talking to YOU, Joss Whedon.

Which brings us to Reason #3 that Dollhouse is Misogynist Bullshit: sex made violent and violence against women made sexy; sex and violence linked so closely you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.

Rock World

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You've got to look at this slide show of highly magnified images of rocks and minerals. The images are stunningly beautiful and, in some cases, reminiscent of things we see in the real world--a cliff jutting into a sea, a waterfall. They're really cool.


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This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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