Thursday, January 31, 2008

They Have Pickles

You haven't seen Ms. Mon in action until you've seen her harassing wait staff over condiments. The consummate barista at one of my favorite waterholes artfully deflected her incessant grilling. She wrote it up:

Me: "Do you have sweet pickles?"
Server: "No."
Me: "You know, those bread and butter

Server: "Ah, no."
Me: "Do you have any pickles?"
Server: "No, sorry, we don't have any."
Me: "Do you have anything pickled?"
Server: "Well, we have [my brain tuned this part out
because I didn't hear the word pickle]."

Me: "OK. Do you have any Heinz products?"
Server: "We have ketchup."

(She forgot to insert howls of laughter emanating from moi. Ledcat was trying to kick her under the table, but didn't wear her dress Doc Martens with the fancy toe extensions.)

I was at Hoi Polloi today and can confirm that they now have pickles. I hate pickles, by the way, so I was completely on the side of the barista.

3rd Annual Cyber-Space Poetry Slam!

On February 2, there'll be poetry posted in honor of Brigid, a Celtic goddess who hangs out with the healers, the smiths, and the poets. Nice trio! This tradition was started by Reya (who's in DC these days), and is being hosted this year by Oak (who's in San Francisco). If you want to participate, post a poem on Saturday, and link to Oak, or give her a heads up in her comment section, so she can add you to the web. I'll be in on it too; you can leave notice in my comment section, too, and I'll make sure Oak gets the news.

Then, all day, you get to read poems.

Good activity for a Saturday, although since the Pittsburgh weather is supposed to be in the high 40's that day, you might be spending it Outside.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What are you reading?

This past weekend, I finally began "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The book came recommended by either Bitch or Bust magazine, but sat on my table unopened the first time it came from the library. During my last visit, I noticed it on display at Woods Run, so I checked it out to try again.

The book chronicles the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali who "rose to fame" after the assassination of her colleague Theo Van Gogh for their collaboration on a movie critical of the manner in which Islamic women are treated. Ayaan is now under the protection of armed guard in the United States and a topic of current controversy as the Netherlands government (she was a sitting member) threatens to pull her guard unless she returns to that nation. She came to US to work for the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.

She's still a teen in the book so I can't adequately reflect on her adult political views. I can say that the book is very interesting if you, like me, appreciate an authentic glimpse into the life behind the scenes of another culture. Ayaan's childhood took her from Somalia to Saudia Arabia to Kenya.

I do have to admit that the writing itself isn't particularly appealing. Ayaan will describe herself as a willful, disobedient child only to emphasize her obedience and fearful servitude a few lines later. Given that she is relaying the story in hindsight, I expect a bit more organization and reflection. I don't really have any sense of who she was as a child or young adult. I certainly appreciate the brutish nature of her surroundings - those are vivid passges --, but the adults come across as nearly one dimensional charicatures -- the absent father, the hysterical and bitter mother, the old-school grandmother, the benevolent male father figures, the lost soul sister, the redeemed through Islam brother, etc. And she's just 18.

My hope is that at some point Ayaan is going to acknowledge that the reasons her mother nearly beat her to death over and over again are much more complicated than being abandoned by her husband. I'm hoping that at some point Ayaan is going to hold her father accountable for her female circumcision because he abandoned her to an old-school caretaker even though he "told them not to do it." I'm really hoping that this book is going to surprise me.

I just finished Ha Jin's "A Free Life" which was excellent. In the wings, I have a collection of Christopher Hitchens' essays. I believe I'm caught up with the magazines, although there may be another article or two to catch in Ms.

What are you reading?


Hmm. Want to talk about it?

After I saw Sherry's post about "blog addiction," it got me thinking back to a Businessweek article I had saved from last November by Jon Fine called "The Winter of Our Content."

There are some people who are quietly wringing their hands with glee that some of us are addicted to blogging -- and most of them aren't bloggers.

While some may be deluded into thinking we are pioneers in the noble pursuit of information dissemination, the democratization of opinion once generally dictated by MSM white, newspaper men (maybe with the exception of Lois Lane), it's clear when you stand back and look at things from an economic perspective that the major winners here are the techies.

Think about it -- blogs, myspace -- we're providing the content for free so that the techies can reap the rewards of ad revenue, just for starters. And the rewards we're speaking of aren't nominal.

The fact that so many are so willing -- and I'm going to put myself out there and say often for merely for the sake of ego-stroking -- to write for free is really driving down the demand -- and price -- of the freelance writer like myself who prefers to be paid for my writing.

So though we may feel empowered by all of the freedom -- we are slaves of the techlords.

Nothing can turn that tide now -- because, for all the ego we have, their humility -- and cash flow -- is exponentially stronger.

P.S. Writing this post just slashed my going rate by another .003 %.

Go head, cut me, Mick.


Except I drive a Magnum. Zoom zoom zoom. ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2008


78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


Birthing a Nation

In today’s Post-Gazette (

“…women vital to the birth of America

It’s an interview with history professor Holly A. Mayer

Here’s a bit from the article:

“…there wouldn't be a United States of America today if it hadn't been for the women

…the army could not have sustained itself for eight long years -- it [the Revolutionary War] was America's longest war until Vietnam -- without the women who followed the troops…How do you keep people in the field and keep them fighting for eight years?

Another misconception Dr. Mayer has fought against is the notion that most of the women who followed the army were prostitutes

… prostitution depends on cash, and by and large, soldiers in the Continental Army were too poor to offer prostitutes much steady employment, she said. "If prostitutes were going to follow any army then, they would have followed the British Army, because they got paid in good, hard currency."

Most of the women who traveled with the American army were wives, concubines or daughters of soldiers, her research has shown.

By the time of the Valley Forge encampment in late 1777, records suggested there might have been one woman in American camps for every 30 to 35 enlisted men.”

Sunday, January 27, 2008

She's Legal!

It's my birthday and I'll drink if I want to,
Drink if I want to,
You would too if..uh
you turned 21
... too!

I just thought I'd share the fact that if we have a meetup and it's at a bar, I can now join in the fun.

I'm going to go sleep this one off....Perhaps save this as a draft when I wake back up again...


Agent Ska

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mary Tyler Moore: Update

This is one of my all-time favorite marriages ... Joan Jett and Mary Tyler Moore.

Remember this one?

The intro song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Agent Ska

Brenda Frazier Campaign call for volunteers


As we’ve discussed, incumbent, Lisa Bennington, has decided not to seek re-election.

County Councilwoman Brenda Frazier-D, is running for Bennington’s State Representative seat in District 21.

Brenda is looking for volunteers to help her collect signatures on her petitions. The deadline for collecting signatures to get on the ballot is February 12, 2008.

To collect signatures you must be a Democrat living in District 21, which includes Bloomfield, Shadyside and Morningside neighborhoods, as well as the towns of Etna, Millvale, Sharpsburg, and parts of O’Hara, Ross and Reserve.

If you’re able to help, or for more information, please contact Brenda at: or 412.799.8251.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Local Warming

It certainly is good to be women bloggers.

Is anyone else spending the bulk of this month soaking up TED?

If you've not been, you don't know what you're missing. This is some of the lighter fare.

Rachel is up for a Bloggie!

Hurrah for one of Society members .... Rachel's That Night is up for a Bloggie as Best Kept Secret. Cast your vote here.

(h/t PittGirl)


Someone sent me a link to this -- and it turns out that it's the funniest thing I've seen in a while. Check it aht girls and boys.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008


This Friday I made a point to watch the WQED current events show Off Q and as promised, this is my breviloquent review:

Chris Moore: Who's your daddy?


Heather Heidelbaugh: SEE ABOVE!

Valerie "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" McDonald: I wish you ran for mayor of Pittsburgh. But you're destined for the big time, baby.

John McIntire: What's not to love? You looked like you just rolled out of bed. When Moore said, "You've lost more jobs than anyone on this show," in reference your "economy" talking point, I laughed, I cried, I took another swig of Crown Royal. I also loved your screed against marriage.
I got the Chauncey Gardner reference (Peter Sellers was brilliant in Being There.) It warms my heart that you finally are willing to admit the middle class is going the way of the dinosaur, but your stance on the drink tax still sucks.

And finally, with all due respect, to the lovely Betsy Benson, editor of Pittsburgh Magazine, whom I have nothing personal against -- when you made your pitch for the magazine -- I wish you were allowed to speak the truth -- it's not for people who love their city a little more -- it's for people who have a little more money to love their city.

When we find a formula to measure love, that's the day we stop being human.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blog for Choice: Tuesday is the 35th Anniversary of Roe v Wade

Consider participating in the 2008 Blog For Choice project by allocating at lease one blog post on your blog to the topic of why it is important to vote pro-choice. You'll have to surf over to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents on Tuesday (or perhaps late Monday evening) to see what I have to say on that topic. It may not be particularly profound, but it will come from my heart. This is what I wrote last year. Here's what Maria wrote.

Blog for Choice Day

Participation is easy. Simply follow the link embedded in the image to sign up. Then add the code to your site and voila! As The Society has no defined stance on this issue, it would not be appropriate for us to sign up or post the banner to represent us all. Still, each of us has something to add to the conversation and I hope we each shall.

There couldn't be a timelier topic, especially given the vitriole around gender, race and class issues emerging in Presidential politics.

I encourage all members of The Society to give this some thought.

Fair Pay for Women

I just got this from the Run, Baby, Run Listserve.

From the National Organization for Women (NOW):

Tell Your Senators: Support Fair Pay for WomenWith your help, we won the battle in the House of Representatives to restore our equal pay rights. Now we need your help to pass it in the Senate.Ask your senators to support equal pay for women!As you may recall, recently the Supreme Court sharply limited the ability of women who have suffered pay discrimination to seek back pay and other compensation. Immediately after the Court denied Lilly Ledbetter's claim for pay discrimination in May, Sen. Hillary Clinton and other supporters started the ball rolling on legislative fixes to this judicial misinterpretation. With support from NOW and many activists across the country, the House passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last month and now it's the Senate's turn.

Later this month, the Senate will take up its version of the bill, the Fair Pay Restoration Act, which would return us to the longstanding rule that treated each and every discriminatory paycheck as a new act of discrimination. The Fair Pay Restoration Act will fix the Court's constitutional misinterpretation and ensure that pay discrimination victims get their fair day in court.Send your senators a thank-you note if they're supporting the bill or ask them to sign on! Our automated system will let you know whether your senators are supporters and provide a sample message.It's sad enough that women are still only paid 77 cents to men's dollar, even after four decades of civil rights law that banned wage discrimination. But the Supreme Court's decision threatens to push back much of the progress that women have been making in closing the wage gap and now Congress must restore those rights.

Get more information about the Fair Pay Restoration Act:

Read about the bill:

-Agent Ska-

Odd confluence of trivia

Bits of oddball, apropos-of-nothing information rattle around in, then out, of my head. Because I hate to suffer alone, I am sharing:

*Now playing in Pittsburgh – “The Vagina Monologues” & “Menopause: The Musical” No wonder the guys started up their own blog, which reminds me, shouldn’t we be circling the wagons or something ladies?

*New beat cop in the Strip – Officer Elvis, he’s Bosnian & speaks 6 languages (in today’s Trib).

David Sunseri’s, (owner of Penn Mac), remarks in the above article are extra-specially pinging around upstairs.

Quoth the Sunseri, the Strip “has three distinct personalities”. I say don’t we all?

And: “…having Elvis here is fantastic because he can be embedded in the community.” Embedded? Puts me in mind of good times alright.

*Also in today’s Trib, woman beats older sister with older sister’s fake leg…

It happened last Weds., in the wee hours, at Lincoln Trailer Park in North Huntingdon. Donna, 41 took 43 yr. old Sherrie Lynn’s prosthetic leg & proceeded to recklessly endanger her…

Friday, January 18, 2008


With absolutely no apologies to Charles Dickens*

I had promised my girlfriend Lori a night on the town in honor of her birthday. So I took her to the Double Wide Grill on the South Side for "Trailer Park Trivia." Thanks to my encyclopedic (and creepy) knowledge of Andy Kaufman (he was an absurdist, people, not a comedian) and George Michael (marijuana makes him happy, OK?), we took home the bronze and won third place as the trailer-park-trash-team of "Sylvia and Gladys." (Lori chose the names, and I chose to be Gladys, because I thought I looked more like a Gladys than a Sylvia. I dunno. You tell me. I'm the blond, blurry one to the left of Steve Swanson, our sexy-geeky, gracious host. One of my colleagues will tell you I have to smudge because of all the stalkers. He includes, of course, himself among them. But back to the photo: Lori is on the right, holding the $10 gift card we won, and used immediately to buy another drink.)

We were expecting a lot of Britney Spears questions, but much to our delight, Steve mixed it up nicely and posed some real brainteasers -- including one about why the doomsday clock is set to go off five minutes before midnight. (Thanks to the Carbolic Smoke Ball, I am also totally in-the-know about "all things doomsday clock.")

After checking out a few other spots, and embarrassing Lori as much as I could by announcing it was her birthday (to me, the birthday of someone I care about is the most important day in the world and should be celebrated accordingly, for it is the day that the world brought you here, and along the way, I was somehow fortunate enough to have you become a part of my life, blah blah blah Bette Davis eyes and tears and estrogen, etc.) we decided to call it a night.

And, at 11:30 p.m., I had realized that I had gone the entire day without anything to eat. And that there is no where to eat in Pittsburgh at that time. So we indulged in a guilty pleasure -- McDonald's French fries.

This caps off a week of much merriment, including my clandestine coffee shop meeting with Sue Kerr of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents and Ledcat. I hope I didn't scare them too much. I'm six feet tall and I tend to dance my way in the door, even when there's no music playing. Well, not really, but you'd swear I was. On both accounts.

I had realized that on that evening, at 7 p.m., I had not eaten all day, so I ordered a grilled cheese. Naturally, since I am insufferable, the conversation with my server went something like this:

Me: "Do you have sweet pickles?"

Server: "No."

Me: "You know, those bread and butter pickles."

Server: "Ah, no."

Me: "Do you have any pickles?"

Server: "No, sorry, we don't have any."

Me: "Do you have anything pickled?"

Server: "Well, we have [my brain tuned this part out because I didn't hear the word pickle]."

Me: "OK. Do you have any Heinz products?"

Server: "We have ketchup."

Poor guy.

Later that night, I decided to pick a fake fight with John McIntire and I ended up calling him a conniving rapscallion. He retorted by calling me a sniveling guttersnipe. That was fun. By the way, he and Gab Bonesso will be at the Club Cafe January 25. Word is there's word that something's brewing for both of them. Word.

Last week, I actually had a very nice conversation with Mary Robb Jackson from KDKA, who wasn't happy about something I had written about her in my annual local TV news predictions for the new year column in the City Paper. She was so diplomatic and lovely and just oozed genuine-osity -- but I still don't feel guilty and told her I can't wait to write about her again. She had me at hello. She rocks. (And how the hell did your phone work all the way through that tunnel?)

Anyway, back to the coffee shop with my favorite Lesbian Correspondents -- after our top-secret, super-on-the-sly girly-girl bonding, I apologized to Sue and Ledcat if I squeezed the life out of them when I hugged them goodbye. (I swear I only made someone cough up their lunch one time. OK. Three.)

I made a point to stop at a coffee shop in my 'wood Wednesday night in between drop-offs and pick-ups to assorted kid sporting practices to pick up a City Paper and in no time had coffee coming out of my nose and ears when I saw the cover -- it was a fantabulous illustration of a Pittsburgh I Spy. The one that did it? Find Dee Thompson's hat. You have to pick up a copy.

I completely behaved myself there, minding my own business (even though it's so much more fun to mind other's business), and only threatened to steal a man's pen when his friend was razzing him for worrying that if he left his reading glasses on the table and his papers and stuff that someone was going to steal them. So I had to ask what the prescription was because I just so happened to be in the market for a new pair of glasses. They were too strong, so I told him how much I admired his pen.

Suffice it to say, I wrote my to-do list with it last night.

Fast-forward to this morning, when, after a keeping a week's worth of promises and social obligations and tending to general kid needs (winter formal -- daughter had to have Eva Longoria hair, dress alterations for her and a friend -- please, don't tell anyone else I sew; pinewood derby -- second-grader is now two-time champ and going to the finals -- and watching my other son kick some serious butt at his 8th grade basketball games) I discovered this lovely sight after I sent the kiddos off to school this morning:

Apparently, someone in my house is bleeding to death and I'm completely unaware. I think I'm just going to go with a diagnosis of Lupus and call it a week.

*But with definite (or should I write absolute?) apologies to Mr. Fasson (because there were actually four breasts on my team), my Algebra II teacher who tried his damnedest to get me to pursue a career in math because I went the entire year with a perfect problem-solving record on every test. I know, I can't believe it either.

And that concludes this morning's bedroom dispatch. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Conference for Minority, Women & Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

Date: February 7, 2008
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Venue: IBEW Conference Center, 5 Hot Metal Street & Carson Street (South Side), Pgh. 15203
Cost: Free

Must register by February 4, 2008

Information & registration: or 412-578-8375


7:30 a.m. - Registration and Breakfast Buffet

8:30-8:45 a.m. - Welcome, Opening Remarks and Recognition of Sponsors

8:45-10:30 a.m. - Speakers
• Don Barden, PTG Gaming/Majestic Star
• Keith B. Key, KBK Enterprises
• Mary Grace Musuneggi, The Musuneggi Financial Group
• MWDBE Hall of Fame Presentation

The Governmental Committee honors professionals who have played a vital role in the MWDBE business community through the Hall of Fame award. The Hall of Fame plaque, with the names of each year's awardees, is proudly displayed in the Diversity Business Resource Center.

• 2008 Inductees
Louis "Hop" Kendrick & Pittsburgh Courier--Rod Doss, Editor and Publisher

10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. - Networking in the Exhibit Hall

An opportunity to market your business to government purchasing agents and sponsoring banks. Find out what bidding opportunities are coming up. Bring literature about your company to share with the purchasing agents and others attending the event.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


i got this in an e-mail and it made me smile and then, it made me think.
if it were set 8o years from now the lady would have had ( i hope ) the occupations herself.

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married -- for the fourth time.The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation.'He's a funeral director,' she answered.'Interesting,' the newsman thought.He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years.After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly,explaining that she'd first married a banker when she was in her early20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, later on a preacher when in her 60's, and now in her 80's, a funeral director.The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.She smiled and explained, 'I married one for the money, two for the show,three to get ready, and four to go.'

Are we being well represented? How should I know?

Other than voting records, what are our gauges/measures for good representation?

Members of Congress, State Legislatures, City Councils & School Boards are representatives. They're charged with representing their constituency's needs/wishes.

Should they also be representative of their constituency in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, political leanings, age, education, income, etc.?

Can someone who is different from us in all or many of the above represent us well?

Should we figure we're being well represented if legislative bodies resemble the population percentage-wise?

According to the 2000 census, 52% of Pittsburgh's population is female, 27% is black. Our 9 member city council has two female members and two black members. Our 9 member school board has three black members and four female members. Of W PA's 44 state reps, three are white women and two are African American men and, I believe, John Pippy, is Asian American.

Should we figure we're being well represented if the turnover of legislators is diverse?

Say one state rep district is held by a young, Republican African American woman for three terms, followed by a sixty-something Jewish man who's an Independent for two terms, then a middle aged, gay female Democrat for three terms, does that provide district residents with good representation?

Most elected officials in this region are white men.

On the one hand I'd like to think that, whether or not a representative is physically, politically, etc., like me, s/he can serve me as a good rep.

On the other hand, having often been the only woman in a room full of white men, I know that the majority, (regardless of who the majority is), will not ask the same questions as people outside of the majority's group would. And, as turnover is so minimal, things tend to stay the same for a very long time.

So what's the equation for figuring out if we've got good representation? Does race trump gender? Does religion trump political party or age?

Am I asking the wrong questions? Do you have some of your own?

Bennington/Female Candidates Redux

Good questions from Chris Potter:

“…some of us are interested in the Blogging Society's take on Bennington's decision not to run again. It raises a ton of questions for women and everyone else.

If I recall correctly, Run Baby Run touted Bennington to no small extent because her opponent a) was a man, and b) voted in favor of the pay raise. (As Elsie Hillman put it in a RBR release, "Can you imagine the difference in the culture of Harrisburg if half of our legislators were female? It is time to change realities like ... the pay raise.")

I'm not suggesting those are bad reasons for casting a vote. But as you no doubt recall, Bennington's opponent was Frank Pistella, who was actually a reliably progressive vote on issues like abortion and gay rights. Now that Bennington has decided to step down, we face the very real possibility that she will be replaced with yet another male ... and one who is less reform-minded and less friendly to women than Pistella ever was.

1) Bennington ran on a campaign of reform. Since serious reform often requires sustained effort over many years, has she let down those who supported her by bailing out after a single term? Your remarks about fish fries suggest that some of us -- may underestimate the challenges of holding office. Is that true? If so, how should we change the way we engage in politics, or our opinion of those politicians we love to bitch about?

2) Run Baby Run's efforts have been directed at PUTTING women in office. Is there a way to expand the organization's efforts so that it finds a way to help KEEP them there once elected? Fish fries aren't going anywhere, and the legislature seems likely to be male-dominated for the foreseeable future. Is there anything RBR or other groups can do to support female candidates who have to contend with that?

3) If Bennington is replaced by, say, Leonard Bodack, would that necessarily mean it was a mistake to turn away from Pistella in the first place?

4) Could, and should, RBR put a premium on running women against reactionary males -- as opposed to more enlightened incumbents like Pistella? Similarly, in the future, should Run Baby Run establish a "litmus test" criteria for supporting candidates OTHER than gender? (I ask because in 2006, RBR also supported an anti-choice candidate, Eileen Watt, against Democrat Frank Dermody, who is pro-choice.) Or should female candidates be supported no matter where they run, and no matter what their politics? I believe the latter is RBR's position at present. Can that policy be changed? should it?

5) More generally, when faced with the choices we had in those two 2006 races, where should progressives put their emphasis? On the established track records of pro-choice males, or on our hopes that more inclusivity is a good thing in itself -- even if it means backing candidates we disagree with, or who are simply less know quantities? If we choose the male in the race, we risk perpetuating politics as usual, and leaving the guys calling the shots. If we choose the latter, we risk a kind of identity-politics tokenism.”

Monday, January 14, 2008


Jared Diamond writes this brilliant piece in the Sunday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And speaking of this Sunday's P-G, a reader complains about what she perceives to be a declining quality of the newspaper.

May I humbly suggest letting the cheeky and also brilliant (in a worldly way, the best way of all possible ways to be so) Dennis Roddy write a column?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Maria Frances Lauterbach

It just bothers me that it was six paragraphs into the story before the AP used her name.

It is believed that her grave has been found. It appears that the Marines and the local Sheriff didn't believe her claim that she was raped. Now she's dead.

Don't worry though, as it does appear that the media and those charged with protecting Maria Lauterbach have successfully trotted out the usual rash of 'we didn't believe her b/c of X' explanations, including the claims that she has a family history of bipolar disorder and may have been a pathological liar. Amazing how many times rapists and their protectors hold up mental illness as proof that someone can't be victimized. Why it just isn't fathomable, I suppose, that an individual with a mental illness might be especially vulnerable to a rapist.

The fact that she was pregnant makes the headlines or the opening parapraph. Her name doesn't. That just seems so very sad.

The Carbolic Smoke Blog Proudly Presents

Men. On. the. Internet.
Banding Together.
Creating a safe space to discuss, uh, men's blogging things.
Do you want to join?
-agent ska-
It's like, Whao. There are guys on the internet!? Who knew!?!

Friday, January 11, 2008

3 Female candidates running in PA


Exciting news, several of my 2007 Center for Progressive Leadership Fellows are running for office! Please note, I’m only listing the ones who’ve officially declared they’re running. If you know people in these women's districts, please share this information with them.

1. Cindy Purvis is running for State Senate - 49th District

District includes: the CITY of Erie and the TOWNSHIPS of Conneaut, Elk Creek, Fairview, Franklin, Girard, Greene, Harborcreek, Lawrence Park, McKean, Millcreek, Springfield, Summit and Washington and the BOROUGHS of Albion, Cranesville, Edinboro, Girard,Lake City, McKean, Platea and Wesleyville.

Cindy’s campaign Kick Off is: Sunday, January 20 12:00-2:00 Erie Dance Conservatory 8335 Edinboro Road (3 miles south of Millcreek Mall)

2. Joanne Tosti-Vasey is running for State House – 171st District

District includes: Centre County, the Townships of College, Gregg, Harris, Penn, Potter, Spring, and Walker, and the Boroughs of Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Millheim, and State College [part - Districts East (part, Divisions 01, 02, and 04), East Central (part, Division 01), Northwest, and West Central (part, Division 01)], and part of Mifflin County consisting of the Townships of Armagh and Brown.

Joanne’s campaign website:

3. Not one of my CPL Fellows, but a bright, progressive female candidate:

Kathy Dahlkemper is running for U.S. Congress in PA’s 3rd District – the incumbent is Phil English.

This district is includes all of Erie County and parts of Armstrong, Butler, Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.

Kathy’s campaign website:

10th Annual Summit Against Racism

Celeste Taylor, a woman I and many, many Pittsburghers respect and admire, has been deeply involved with the Black & White Reunion’s Annual Summits Against Racism. The Black & White Reunion was founded in 1996 “…to bring together a “reunion” of Black and White people in a collaborative spirit to address the racial and class inequality and division in our society.”

The group is preparing to host the 10th Annual Summit Against Racism – it’s an event well worth attending.


Theme: The Power of One: A Commitment to Individual and Collective Action

When: January 26, 2008
Time: 8am - 4pm

Venue: E. Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Early registration: $20 Registration after 1/18/08: $25

Information: 412-441-3800 x 32 or check out:


Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Vagina Monologues

Ledcat and I are attending the weekend performance of The Vagina Monologues. Anyone else planning to be there? We are planning to get some chow at Cambodican Kitchen afterward. Anyone interested in joing us?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


a little light hearted post( from my well over 100 e-mails ) to
rest up from all of the asinine political coverage of last night.

(plus the aggravation of no Internet service til 2 p.m. today!)


Number 10:
Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9:
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Number 8:
Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.

Number 7:
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Number 6:
Some people are like a Slinky ..... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

Number 5:
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

Number 4:
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 3:
Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200.00 and a substantial tax cut saves you $3.00?

Number 2:
In the 60s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

We know exactly where one cow with Mad-cow-disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of homeland security.

"Life is like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Taking Issue with MacYapper

OK, you know I love John, but today's MacYapper blog made me cringe.

A 26 year old teacher in the Moon Area School District has been charged for having sexual contact with a 14 year old male student. MacYapper writes:

MacYapper - Question... how come when pervy teachers go after young prey in
Florida, they look like Playboy playmates, or at least Hooters girls, but when
it happens here they look like someone you may or may not want a reach-around
from after having one too many at Jacks on the South Side?

He posts pictures to illustrate his point (hot Florida blond teacher, less attractive brunette teacher from Pittsburgh).

Does the boy who was raped by his teacher feel better about it if she's a hottie? Seriously? Does that give him some sort of street cred because he should feel *fortunate* for banging a teacher? I think the photo John posted was Debra Lafave who had some of her charges dropped b/c of the negative impact the media scrutiny had on her victim. Imagine being that kid in the locker room. My understanding is that the 14 year old in the Moon case is still denying the sexual contact.

No one discussed the hotness of the 20 year old Marine who kidnapped and raped a 13 year old girl. No one suggests she is lucky for getting to have sex with a grown man (in a uniform!) who took the bus all the way from North Caroline to propose to her.

Clear examples of how patriarchal attitudes hurt boys and men. And all of us.

For the record, I know John isn't condoning adult teachers "seducing" their students. But it still bothered me ...

Monday, January 7, 2008


" :-) "


you asked. here it is.
of course, no one is here right now to take a photo so i did it myself.
due to being 5 ft 2 with short arms you can see the flash bouncing back from the silver roots. linda did a good job blending 2 shades of blonde with the grey and the silver. it will grow out with much less of a line and the fact that the dark brown was fading to an ugly mud color just made it worse.

it seems trivial, but it does say quite a bit about how things are changing for us as women and the fact that i, myself will go to great lengths to avoid losing my mind listening to the asinine statements from the presidential candidates!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

haircolor 2nd round

i suppose it started with a discussion we had on a post here.
the one on grey hair and hair coloring. i thought that i would NEVER give up my
dark hair and surrender as i termed it, to the grey that i am.

well, since then i gave the question AND the questions that came from that 1st.
question some serious thought and decided to grow out my hair. the trouble was, i looked like a little skunk. so my cousin, who colored hair for years for a living,came over yesterday and bleached as much out as humanly possible and shaded my hair to a pale reddish blonde leaving the grey roots alone so that it will grow all grey with less of a starkness. there are a few teeny pieces that are still dark. they just refused to do anything but laugh at the effort. a few haircuts tho and i'll be mostly pale blonde and grey and then my natural color.

frankly, i do catch myself looking at my reflection in the mirror and staring,
but the knowledge that i will NEVER have to go thru the mess and expense of coloring and purchasing all of those special shampoos and other products for colored hair is worth the shock of having a color that i never dreamed i'd have.i know i will be teased unmercifully by some of my friends and i'll probably hear a few catty comments from certain people, but i took the first step on a road to a little more free time and a chunk of self acceptance of my age.

don't think i'll ever give up my eyeliner tho. i enjoy that too much.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Women in Open Source Conference

SoCal Linux Expo

The SCALE 6X Women In Open Source conference continues last year's work in encouraging women of all ages to participate in the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community. The WIOS conference will be held on Friday, February 8th, prior to the 6th Annual So Cal Linux Expo.

As a woman, if you've had experience working on an Open Source project, or in deploying Open Source software, please join us in sharing your accomplishments, success stories, and advancements.

The call for papers is here, in HTML or PDF.

View the website here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

This Just In ...

Crack reporter Frances Monahan had me in a fit of giggles last night at the Barnes and Noble in Squirrel Hill. Much to the chagrin of the serious writer churning out his masterpiece to my right.

-- KDKA political editor Jon Delano will do a feature on his favorite local
bakery, where he always orders six bear claws and a half-dozen bear claws.

-- Despite KDKA's efforts to make certain that we provincial Pittsburghers
don't confuse anchor (and CMU graduate!) Sonni Abatta with newcomer
meteorologist Valerie Abati, hordes of viewers will continue to confuse the
two (who are practically doppelgangers to our aging-demographic eyes). This
will prompt station management to force Sonni to change her television surname
to Skies. This move, of course, will prove even more confusing to local viewers,
who will assume Sonni has been relegated to the weather department. The
confusion will soon end, however, when Sonni is picked up by a bigger market and returns to her given last name. Local message boards will lament the loss of
Abatta -- um, Skies -- for months, perhaps even years.

I love the KDKA newswomen. Sonnis, Kristine, Lynn, Stephanie, Brenda and, of course, Patrice. I love their hair ups and downs, their clothing choices, their bright perky smiles and everything else. But I must admit that my favorite on-air pair would be Ken Rice and Jon Burnett. John never fails to rattle Ken which always cracks me up. He even gets the brow to furrow.

He's a mad genius.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What a pig!

(Crossposted at 2 Political Junkies):

OK. To be honest this item happened during the last full week of 2007, but it doesn't so much call into question what year it is, but what century it is.

On December 26th, Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said:

"Who are we going to set on the road — what man are we going to set on the road — to lead us and to stand against this assault?" he asked, emphasizing the word "man." He couched his comments by saying: "I say the word man advisedly. Now I've got a daughter that's going to be president some day, I know it, and I am all for a woman president, just not this year, not next year."

Without saying Clinton's name, he added: "There is no woman on the horizon that ought to be president next year, let's all agree on that."

It was characterized in the media as Thompson "teasing" Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

However, Thompson expressed the same sentiments the next day (if you recall, that was the day that former Pakistani Prime Minister and leading opposition candidate Benazir Bhutto was assassinated):

Fred Thompson doesn't have a problem with a female heading a government. But he's not ready for it in this country, at least not yet.

Speaking today to a small group of supporters in the last campaign rush before the Iowa caucuses next week, Thompson railed against those who opposed -- and ultimately assassinated -- former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

"They're driven to distraction by the notion that a secular woman would be head of government,'' the Republican presidential hopeful said of the woman who was slain as she campaigned for her country's presidency after years in exile.

But in America, Thompson said, repeating remarks earlier in the week, no woman is up to the job just yet.

"This year, it's a man, and next year, it's going to be a man,'' said the actor and former US senator from Tennessee. "I can see no one else who's qualified to be president of the United States.''

Well, Freddie Boy is right about one thing: They're (Republicans are) driven to distraction by the notion that a secular woman would be head of (the US) government.

What a pig.

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson and
granddaughter daughter wife (Hey! At least he thinks
that women are good for something.)

Fred Thompson with his pick to head up a new
Commission on the Status of Women.