Wednesday, June 25, 2008

That dude with his article on depression being caused by feminism...well, we all know it's a big pile of shit, but this comment got my attention:
No need to wonder why men are running for the borders and dating foreign women and eventually moving to paradise to raise *happy* families with happy women. Even IMBRA, a law promoted by obviously depressed women (aka feminists), cannot stop this trend.

You mean this IMBRA?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IMBRA, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, is a United States federal statute that requires background checks for those using international marriage agencies. The impetus for its introduction was several high-profile cases (including the Susanna Blackwell case in 1995 and the Anastasia King case in 2000) in which women had been abused and/or murdered by men using these services.

Yep, those god-damned feminazis, it's their jealousy of mail-order brides taking up all the good men that made them want to create a law that banned mail order brides from coming into the USA, and make all such marriages illegal.

Er, what?

You mean the law just requires that these guys get criminal background checks before they become a client of mail-order bride companies? And this is because women were being murdered by abusive husbands whose criminal records would have revealed them as abusers, had those women been able to see the records ahead of time? And because according to a federal court , "the rates of domestic violence against immigrant women are much higher than those of the U.S. population"?

And this was signed into law by known feminazi sympathizer George W. Bush?

Yes, obviously, a feminist's objection to mail-order brides is that they are jealous and can't get a man (isn't that the biggest reason these bitches are angry?), not because they feel it's not in a woman's best interest to be motivated by poverty and fear to ship herself away from her home and family to submit herself to some man who not only couldn't find a local woman who was willing to put up with his shit, but also who will have total control over her, because he holds the key to her green card and visa. And this man will obviously be so well-adjusted that he will let her know that she has the right to not be beaten, raped, or otherwise abused by him--in fact, he will definitely not prefer that she come from a country where women submitting to those things are "traditional values", right? Because he's such a good guy.

The Blue Jay and the Box Turtle

In a forest by a river, a blue jay and a box turtle met and became friends. The blue jay could look around from the treetops and report on any gossip in the area, while the box turtle had a good sense of smell and strong front legs and claws to dig up choice morsels to share with the blue jay.

Because the box turtle sometimes needed to get the blue jay's attention when the jay was high up in a tree, they developed a semaphore system so that they could ask simple, short questions without either of them having to leave their immediate location. The box turtle used this system more frequently, because the blue jay could simply fly down to wherever the turtle was to talk.

Well, one day, the blue jay gets a question flashed at him from the turtle. He wasn't at the treetop; he was on a lower branch, so he begins to berate the turtle. "I hate it when you use the semaphores when I'm not at the top of the tree!"

The turtle was very confused by this. "What did you want me to do, scream from down here? I thought that would be less polite than using the signals."

The jay hopped angrily from one foot to another, fluffing out his feathers self-importantly. "I am really tired of using the semaphores. If you need to talk to me, the least you could do is come up and speak to me in person!"

If the turtle had eyebrows, one would have been raised at that moment. "How do you expect me to do that, exactly? You do realize that I am a BOX TURTLE, and therefore I do not have wings? And I can't climb like a fox or bear!"

"Well I don't know. I am just sick and tired of using those semaphores!" The bluejay fluttered off in a squawking huff, shitting as he went to express his displeasure.

The turtle sat at the bottom of the tree, aggravated, and muttered, "Why should I dig up grubs for him, if he's just going to be like that?"

"Hey hey whatcha doin?!" said a chirpy voice. Box turtle looked up to see a dear treefrog friend, who had just awakened as the sun was setting. The little gray frog blended perfectly with the bark of the tree, but hopped around, eyeing the air for flying insects.

"Hey, frog. Blue jay's been kind of a jerk to me today."

"Yeah? HEY LOOK A LACEWING!" The frog flicked out his tongue and swallowed a bright yellow insect. "Tangy!"

"Yeah, he thinks that, if I want to talk to him, I should come up into the tree instead of using semaphores."

"I don't really deal with those semaphore things; they aren't too visible at night," the frog replied, snatching a silent-winged moth with lightning speed. "So I can understand how he feels."

"Er, right, but we are using them during the day, so that isn't really a problem," the turtle said, sniffing at the ground and digging up a fat earthworm. "I'm not too hungry, you want this?"

"Ohhh!" The frog slurped it down voraciously, stuffing the worm into his mouth with his forelegs. "I guess that makes sense; when females communicate with us, they don't use voices, which makes it hard--only our males can talk."

"Yeah, that is a totally different situation. He seems to think I can just climb right up into the tree and talk to him instead."

"Well, it is not fair for him to expect you to climb all the way up there, but can't you just meet him halfway? That's what I'd do." The frog clambered over the tree's trunk, snatching up ants and eating them like popcorn. "Not as tangy as lacewings, but close! That formic acid is delish."

"Halfway? You're a treefrog, you CAN meet him halfway. I'm a turtle. I don't have wings. I don't have sticky toe pads. I don't have agile limbs like a fox."

"Right, but don't you think that you'd eventually be able to do it if you practiced?"

"How is practice going to change the very nature of what I am?"

"I don't know. I'm sure there has to be a way to work it out. I gotta go, I hear a bunch of flies across that glen; I bet they're chewing on something delicious and dead! Bye!" The frog hopped onto the turtle's shell for a quick hug, and bounced away.

The box turtle withdrew into her shell and tightly closed it up, annoyed with the entire world. A couple of hours later, she felt something nudge her. Cautiously peeking out, she saw her best friend in the world, a handsome fox, with flowing tail, wide grin, and crafty eyes. "You okay, turtle?" he asked.

"No, Blue Jay is making me really mad." She told the fox her experience with blue jay, and what the treefrog had said. He licked her nose sympathetically.

"I know I can climb trees, but I also know that some cannot climb trees. By the way, there is some really tasty looking fruit up that tree over there. You want me to climb up and get you some?"

The turtle nearly cried with relief at having someone as understanding as the fox. "Yes. And next time you see Blue Jay, would you eat him for me?"

The fox laughed. "I'll see what I can do. For now, why don't you dig up some worms for us, and I'll go get that fruit, and then we can take a nap together.

"That would be great, Fox. I am so lucky to have a friend like you."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

News tidbits

Hey y'all, I am going to continue the "Fat is a symptom" series soon; I went through a few days of not feeling too great after hauling up the AC from the basement. Apparently, this person who could carry 120lbs without thinking about it much has a problem now with 50lbs. I CAN do it, but I pay for it later.

I knew that it might flatten me, but I was really getting sick from the heat, so I figured some muscle soreness would be better than nausea and dehydration. I am quite happy with my decision.

Our kitty situation is pretty good. We had Cyrene and her three kittens; the kittens are all adopted, and we're just waiting for room to open up at the adoption center for Cyrene. She is beautiful and very loving to people. Unfortunately, we've got a lot of cats at the center right now that really don't like other cats. Since one of them, Silver, looks like Cyrene, we are waiting until he is adopted before we stick her in the center.

Silver, by the way, is one hell of a great cat. When I was staffing the adoption clinic last week, he climbed up into my arms, wrapped his front legs around my neck in a hug, and proceeded to lick and nibble my earlobes. The other volunteer told us to get a room! He purred so loudly that it tickled my neck. He is beautiful, cuddly, and would definitely have come home with me that night if we didn't have any cats at home!

We also have Ziggy as a foster; she is a mama that raised her own kittens, then nursed someone else's, and came here to dry out. We're one of the very few foster homes willing to take in adult cats, so we were happy to give Ziggy some space.

Other than that, I've been reading a lot, trying to stay cool, and spending time with my wonderful spouse. I'd love to hear what you folks have been up to, and how you've been keeping cool, if you're in a place that's suffering a heat wave like we are here!

Friday, June 6, 2008

For the love of snakes

A few days ago, a gentleman in Texas had his beautiful boa contrictor stolen from his car. After searching high and low, and offering a reward for her return, he received an anonymous phone call that led him to her destroyed body. She had been bludgeoned with rocks, then torn in half.

I'd imagine that whoever swiped her had no idea what they were stealing when they grabbed the bag from the seat of the man's car. He'd left the window open as he went into the Circle K to get a coffee. Less than two minutes passed betweent the time he parked and the time he came back to his vehicle. It was probably some stupid piece of shit looking for guns, money, or drugs. Instead, the thief opens a bag containing an 8-foot-long albino boa constrictor. I suppose for a non-snake-lover, that is probably shocking.

However, no matter how much you fear snakes, the entitlement a person feels to kill someone else's beloved pet simply because they didn't know what they were getting into when they ROBBED that someone's car, is really galling. They had choices they could have made at that point--they could have closed the bag and dropped it somewhere, snake intact. They could have anonymously left it on the doorstep of a pet store. Instead, they CHOSE to torture and kill it, for no reason except perhaps their own fear, or their own amusement.

I know that many people do not understand that some of us really love and have relationships with our snakes. Maybe you're afraid of them, and you don't like them, but we do not feel the same way you do. We have invested time, and love, and care into making these animals a part of our lives. We know their individual quirks, their personalities (yes, they DO have personalities), and the physical things that make them different from others of their kind. I look into Julian's yellow eyes, and watch his black tongue flicking, and I feel warm and fuzzy inside. I watch someone hold Tez, my Honduran milk snake, and they soften from anxiety to delight, as they enjoy his gentle movements over their arms, and they realize that they have overcome some of their deepest fears. I have seen Gregor go from terrified face-biter to simply wary and mildly trusting, after he learned that we, unlike his previous owners, meant him no harm.

They do have personalities. We DO love them. Even if you can't imagine that, at least respect it--snakes don't deserve abuse and destruction any more than other, more "charismatic" pets, and their owners don't deserve to suffer their loss, no matter how weird or creepy you think liking snakes is.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fat is a symptom, not a disease, Part Five: Ovarian cysts

When I went to university just after high school, I met a very nice young woman who had a very rounded abdomen that looked like a near-term pregnancy. I lost touch for a while, but a couple years later, I saw her, and her belly was nearly flat. Still young, and not yet introduced to FA, I asked her about her weight loss. She told me that a volleyball-sized ovarian cyst had been removed from her body.

I was absolutely stunned. It was the first I'd heard of such a thing, and it horrified me to know that her cyst had gone undetected for so long--that she had spent so much time and effort trying to lose weight, when it wasn't weight that could be lost without surgical intervention.

Of course, not to be spared any of life's most wonderful experiences, four years ago, my own body decided to produce several cysts, one of them quite large, necessitating the removal of an entire ovary, the fallopian tube next to it, and a chunk of uterus, all of which had been engulfed in the cysts and could not be salvaged. It was an emergency surgery, due to the cysts being previously undiagnosed, and growing to a point where they suddenly caused acute, unceasing abdominal pain that landed me in the ER.

Ovarian cysts often go undetected because the women who have them are blown off as lazy overeaters. Instructed by doctors to "diet and exercise", patients can become frustrated and stop bothering to get medical care. The cysts continue to inflate--they fill with fluid, and can reach some mind-boggling proportions. A Texas woman had a 156-lb cyst removed in 1994. That pales in comparison to the world record, a 328-lb cyst removed from yet another Texas woman (what's in the water there?!) in the early 1900s, but a 156-lb cyst, as well as a 93-pounder and 66-pounder, are still problematic.

A woman carrying around a large ovarian cyst may experience disabling pain, and she may have her activity levels severely curtailed. With a reduction in activity, her metabolism may slow down, causing her to gain weight on top of having the weight of the cyst. By the time she finds a doctor willing to treat her actual problem (instead of berating her for being fat), she may have developed additional health problems related to being sedentary.

No amount of diet and exercise is going to make the cyst disappear. The rest of the body may lose mass, but the cyst will not shrink. There are generally only a couple of options for treatment; one is surgical removal of the cysts, and the other is hormone treatment in the form of birth control pills. Generally, most cysts will go away on their own once a woman starts taking birth control pills. Of course, weight gain is also a symptom of taking oral contraceptives; it would be great if fatophobes would understand that sometimes gaining weight on a medication is better than not having the therapeutic effects of the medication.

So the next time you see a woman that you think is OMGFAT, and you think it's somehow your business to get upset about that, consider the fact that the above is just one of many medical conditions that can make a person appear to be fat, and it is often one that goes untreated far too long because too much attention is paid to making people thin instead of making them healthy. You might also consider that she is on a medication that is keeping her healthy, and being fat is a side effect of that medication. Asking a woman about the status of her reproductive system, though a favorite hobby of aunts and mothers-in-law, is generally considered to be a gauche thing to do, so the best thing to do is assume that her health and reproductive system are private matters between her, her physician, and possibly her significant other, no matter how badly your screwed-up, bigoted aesthetic sense is upset by the sight of her.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fat is a symptom, not a disease, Part Four: Drug side effects

Many pharmaceuticals have weight gain as a well-documented side effect. The weight gain can be due to a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, lowering metabolic rates, causing hyperinsulimia (especially in anticonvulsants like neurontin and depakote), and many other biochemical effects that are not easy to put into layman's terms. To put it simply, these drugs work because they have a specific chemical effect, but they often react with other biochemical processes in ways that are either not anticipated, or are considered to be less important than the intended therapeutic effect.

To put it simply, a living animal is not a laboratory calorimeter, where calories in and calories out are a simple function. We are infinitely complex, and adding a molecule to the living system can help some problems, but modern medical science is not yet fine-tuned enough to successfully target one tiny process. Our SSRIs and other antidepressants are often like taking a blunderbuss to a rifle range--you will probably hit the target, but you'll hit a lot of other stuff too.

That's what progress is all about, though. A hundred years ago, you probably would have died if you had an acute gallbladder, while today a doctor plucks the quivering organ from our innards with a watchmaker's precision, making a cholecystectomy a very simple and survivable surgery, with smaller and smaller scars as tools and techniques sharpen. When I was a teen, I waited anxiously at a hospital in Milwaukee, five hours from home, for my grandfather's quadruple bypass to be completed. Today, he probably would have had stents neatly slipped into his blocked arteries, with only a pinprick on the surface of his skin to show for it.

Before we had antidepressants and other mental health drugs, we had some of the most inexcusably abusive quackery inflicted upon the mentally ill. Historically, mentally ill people were often just dumped in prisons and jails (and guess what--we're still doing it; ask any social worker). Some were treated to cruel, sometimes deadly exorcisms. Women were presumed "hysterical" and went to doctors for vaginal "massage" to induce orgasm as a treatment. Lobotomies became all the rage in the late 1940s, with frontal lobes scrambled with an ice pick through the eye socket. Asylums were often notorious for their squalid, cruel conditions, with many exposed by family members who were horrified at their relatives' treatment.

In the 1950s, the advent of psychotropic drugs was the first ray of hope for mentally ill people. I feel that we're finally seeing the tail end of the birthing pains of psychopharmaceuticals, with more solid research and standards being applied. The system is obviously not yet perfect, but important lessons have been learned, with our ancestors' brave--albeit not always informed--foray into citizenry as research subjects.

So, today, instead of a schizophrenic being shackled into a cold cell, at the mercy of potentially abusive captors, that person may be able to function normally with the help of a drug such as Risperdal. They may be able to work, have a family, and enjoy their lives. If the drug that enables them to function also causes them to gain weight, I question those who wring their hands over the weight gain. Surely the fact that they can live their lives independently is a pretty good trade-off for the potential stigma associated with the weight gain? And, if it is indeed the stigma the hand-wringers are concerned about, what is preventing them from working toward a better world, one where a fat person is not subjected to social stigma? Is their aesthetic sense so deeply rooted that they can't stand to see a happy person who happens to have a body shape that is not attractive to them?

Some of the best-selling drugs today are antidepressants, especially the SSRIs. They have helped millions of people become reacquainted with life, to poke their heads out of the steep-walled pit that is depression. Anxiety, another condition treated by SSRI, can be so disabling that its sufferers sometimes cannot even leave their homes. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that anyone would be so upset over the associated weight gain, when the drugs often make a person feel as if his or her life is worth living again. I'm tired of hearing the fatophobes shrieking about it, trying their damnedest to drag down those who have finally been able to stand up again, just because their bodies are different.

So tell me, fat-haters, are you really so shallow and juvenile that you would rather see someone institutionalized than fat? Hanging themselves instead of fat? I've really begun to wonder if the fat-hate is not just about fat, but about an excuse to be misanthropic to anyone who is socially vulnerable. After all, the mentally ill you used as a punching bag in ages past have now become functional fat people, so whom are you going to punch in their place? My suggestion to you is to find out why you need a punching bag at all, and then fix it, rather than continuing to delude yourself into thinking your victims deserve your abuse. Maybe you could even try one of the above drugs--it might even be good for you to see what it's like to gain weight without changing your eating or exercise habits.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Interesting passage from a book

"Vagina Ecologist."
She repeated it.
"You mean a gynecologist."
"Yes and no. Gavin prefers to break it into the root words to capture a meaning he feels is lost. The ecology of the vagina, the vagina as environment, rather than just negative space."

-- Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table