At Least They’re Reading

We’ve long enjoyed our American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition, primarily because it includes:

a) word histories.

b) dirty words.

For example, between oral hygiene and oral tradition comes oral sex: “Sexual activity involving oral stimulation of one’s partner’s sex organs.”

A definition now deprived from inquiring minds near Riverside, California:

After a parent complained about an elementary school student stumbling across “oral sex” in a classroom dictionary, Menifee Union School District officials decided to pull Merriam Webster’s 10th edition from all school shelves earlier this week…

“It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” [district spokeswoman Betti] Cadmus said. She explained that other dictionary entries defining human anatomy would probably not be cause for alarm.

Thank god asshole (“A thoroughly contemptible, detestable person”) is safe.

Parent Emanuel Chavez disagrees with the decision, using an example that has us erupting in shits (“Foolishness; nonsense”) and giggles (“To laugh with repeated short, spasmodic sounds”):

“Censorship in the schools, really? Pretty soon the only dictionary in the school library will be the Bert and Ernie dictionary.”

Oh, Mr. Chavez. We’re talking about oral sex, not anal (unlisted).

Menifee school officials remove dictionary over term ‘oral sex’ [Riverside Press-Enterprise, via LuxMentis]

God damned socialist eeeeeeeelitist dictionary. Who wants kids to be able to look up the meaning of words?

Also this actually reminds me of the time when I was in elementary school and was banned for oral sex.

banning books is one thing but banning the freakin dictionary?
like I said, this is not SSDD. this is totally new shit.

Related: Texas state BOE bans Bill Martin Jr. (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) because he has the same name as a guy who wrote a book called Ethical Marxism. I weep librarian tears.

The only book anyone needs is the bible! Everyone knows that!

@homofascist: I fondly remember when I was a GA in the UIUC Applied Health Sciences Library and helped a student look for books on oral sex for a paper he was writing (riiight, I know). I showed him the LC subject headings fellatio and cunnilingus, but virtually all the pertinent books we were supposed to have were missing, not banned but stolen. We managed to scrape together enough online sources and articles for him to use, luckily…

I have recently been sort of hooked on the discovery networks shows on the bible from a scholarly point of view. (ok, I know they are not all from that point of view but some are and they are good)
like an explanation of what the book of revelations means in a historical context.
also they have been doing shows of things like the books EXCLUDED from the bible.

Thou knoweʃt that we ʃhouldʃt return to the olde ʃtyle of speech and writ, the better to protecte the children therebye.

Alʃo ʃhould we burne witcheʃ, thinkʃ I. Benedict firʃt.

@Capt Howdy:

Witcheʃ, ʃaid I.

And mind thy milk and curdʃ, for mine eye doth point to thee aʃ well, ʃmartaʃʃ.

@Tommmcatt Say Relax:
that font makes me read it like Silvester the cat.


Oddly enough, if I had a student in that district, that’s the first thing I’d start whining about. It would be fun to watch the fundies twist in the wind about why a book featuring genocide, rape, incest, etc. should be allowed if a *dictionary* is too dirty.

@Capt Howdy:

Take care, for that it be hard to ʃtoppe once thou ʃtarteʃt.

@Tommmcatt Say Relax: Tee hee. That reminds me of a Joel Stain column in this week’s Time where he changed the profanities used by Kevin Smith to ones used in Elizabethan times. So now I’ve added “jacknapes” and “flax-wench” to my cursing repertoire.

ADD: That was supposed to say Stein but I’m going to leave that delightful typo up anyway.

@al2o3cr: When fundies led by the hated Sally Kern wanted homoseckshul materials banned from the library or put in a special “Not-that-there’s-anything-wrong-with-that” section to protect the chirrens, someone on the board had the presence of mind to point out that the bible would need to be shelved in that special area.

Haggis is BACK

Smuggled and bootlegged, it has been the cause of transatlantic tensions for more than two decades. But after 21 years in exile, the haggis is to be allowed back into the United States.

mmmmm, minced sheep offal

health care talk from talkleft:

It has sunk in – the House will not pass the Stand Alone Senate bill. That is a political fact. Proponents of the Senate health bill seem to have accepted this reality – here is Ezra Klein:

Obama, who isn’t particularly connected to this deal, can demand the Senate pass a reconciliation bill stripping [the Nelson deal] from the legislation. That’s actually a pretty good narrative for the reconciliation rider. And the neat thing about a reconciliation bill is that Nelson can even vote against it — as can eight of his closest Democratic friends. [. . .] The other thing that reconciliation rider will have to handle is the excise tax. [. . .] The unions might want to think about negotiating a raised limit for everybody [. . .] instead of letting themselves become the next villain in this process.

I doubt the unions are much concerned about being the GOP “villains.” The excise tax itself will more likely be the “villain” anyway. The best result would be eliminating it.

@Capt Howdy: “Reality” is that nothing will pass. Drinks for everyone!

I dont think they are that dumb. dumb, but not that dumb.

HOWL kicks off Sundance

Sundance officially kicks off tonight with one of my most anticipated films – renowned documentarians and first-time narrative filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “Howl.” Starring James Franco (!), David Strathairn, Jon Hamm (!!), Mary-Louise Parker (!!!), and Jeff Daniels, the film recounts Allen Ginsberg’s obscenity trial. Reactions from both myself and all of our criticWIRE participants should be available here starting tomorrow – but here’s three short clips to wet your anticipation:

@Capt Howdy: Simple standard, moving forward: Any alternative to the Senate bill needs to be…

1) Better than the Senate bill.

2) Better than the status quo.

Again, I’m no fan of the Senate bill. But it’s on the table, and if it’s better than what exists now (I’m very open to objections), it needs to be passed.

Otherwise I’m blaming everyone.

the reconciliation they are talking about would most definitely be better than either.
in that paragraph they are talking about removing Nelsons absurd special category for his state, that seems like a total no brainer.
and the excise tax is the tax on middle class health care plans. which also to me seems like a total no brainer.

they will pass something. and personally I want the progressives to fight to make it better to literally the last second.
but they WILL pass something.
not even the democrats are that stupid.

@Capt Howdy: not even the democrats are that stupid.

You’re adorable.

@nojo: @Tommmcatt Say Relax:
point taken
I live in hope. I am a genetic optimist.

@Capt Howdy: Who’s kidding who here? Did you watch that clip? I don’t know from James Franco, but I have heard Ginsberg plenty, and Franco is no Ginsberg. Franco’s recitation gives the impression he had never seen the material till the director shouted “roll, camera!”

Yes, he’s cute but he sure can’t act.

@karen marie:
yeah I wondered too
I think he can act better than that. I was wondering if he was directed that way.

the other clips are much better.

@nojo: He is adorable.

I will not read anything about anything not to do with cats or colonoscopies (yay manchu!). It is the only way I can remain happy.

@Capt Howdy: James Franco as Ginsberg? Um. They have actualy seen a picture of Ginsberg, I take it?

@Tommmcatt Say Relax: It’s Bene-DICK. You know, as in:

Benedick the married man. i’faith.

This ex aide of Johnny’s must have been seriously in love with him to have become quite so vengeful. Perfectly understandable – who wouldn’t adore him? But, dude, chill. BTW, I have it on good authority that the Tony Blair sex-tape is about to drop. Something to do with trifle, kippers and yanqui bum.

@Capt Howdy: Haggis is delicious.

I guess Danny DeVito couldnt grow a beard.

I will take your word about the Haggis


My apologieʃ. Thou ʃhalt be “dick” hereaʃter.

@Capt Howdy: Or Wallace Shawn.

Of course, haggis is meant to be consumed while very, very drunk. Hence the connection with Burns who died, one understands, drunk in a gutter.

@Tommmcatt Say Relax: Forsooth.

@Tommmcatt Say Relax: What’s that? Like a woodchuck? Are they friendly?


yes! Wallace Shawn.

ah so Haggis is Scottish White Castles.


I think it is another word for “hedgehog”. Hence, they would be kinda bite-y.

This whole discussion reminds me of one of my favorite Shakespeare passages, for some reason:

Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
If heaven have any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world’s peace!
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!
Thou that wast seal’d in thy nativity
The slave of nature and the son of hell!
Thou slander of thy mother’s heavy womb!
Thou loathed issue of thy father’s loins!
Thou rag of honour! thou detested–

–Shakespeare’s Richard III, Act 1, Scene iii

This, of course, is Queen Margret’s famous invective to Joe Lieberman (DB-Vermont).

@Capt Howdy: With bagpipes.

And before anyone posts OMG bagpipes! I happen to love them (they are meant to be heard outdoors, in a mist, half-drunk, with one’s face painted blue, flat on one’s back with one’s kilt up around one’s waist). They are one of the few happy memories I have of my father, who would be out in the street at midnight skirling the pipes to our deeply suburban London neighbors each New Year’s Eve shouting “Wake up, you bastards!”.

I love bagpipes too.
but it may have more to do with those little dresses they wear with nothing underneath.

no seriously. I do love bagpipes.

TJ. OMG!!!!

Just went outside in a lull in the huge rains we’ve had all day. A rainbow right across a sky all gunmetal with shafts of sunlight striking through hitting the old ash tree across the lawn and turning it bright silver and an eagle – a motherfucking bald eagle – flew from the top of the Norway spruce off up the mountain!!!!!!

@Capt Howdy: Kilts are all about the ass. I was taught to march in one for a TV in Blighty. Remember that scene in Cage au Folles 2 where they teach the cops to swish? Same thing. I wore plenty under mine. We don’t want damp scratchy wool against the three piece set.

I always wanted to bang someone in a kilt.

its on my bucket list.

I always believe the internets

and the internets sez this:

What should I wear?
The kilt is the traditional Scottish dress worn my men traditionally worn with nothing underneath.

well, and this:

Where does a haggis live?
A haggis is a small animal native to Scotland. Well when I say animal, actually it’s a bird with vestigial wings – like the ostrich. Because the habitat of the haggis in exclusively mountainous, and because it is always found on the sides of Scottish mountains, it has evolved a rather strange gait. The poor thing has only three legs, and each leg is a different length – the result of this is that when hunting haggis, you must get them on to a flat plain – then they are very easy to catch – they can only run round in circles.

@Capt Howdy: Be that as it may I can only tell you that parading around in umpteen yards of tartan is pretty chilly up the whatsit without something underneath. I know they say they don’t wear A/X or 2Xist (had to pull down kilt to check spelling) but that’s just propaganda.

Wee sleekit timorous cowerin’ beastie . . .

@Benedick: FWIW, the chafing issue is exactly why real Scots wear long shirts. This I know from direct experience.

@Benedick: I was completely ambivalent about bagpipes until freshman year of high school, when my biology teacher, Mr. Frederiksen, a member of the local bagpipe troupe, gloriously led our class on a parade around the school, much to the chagrin of the other teachers, especially the English teacher I couldn’t stand. That would’ve been enough to convince me, but soon after he told us that if we wanted to see more of his playing that we could tune in to a show I’d never heard of (“The Awful Truth”) on a channel I’d never heard of (Bravo) hosted by a guy I’d never heard of (Michael Moore). Humana, which is headquartered in Louisville, had denied a pancreas transplant to a sick diabetic, and Moore decided to stage a funeral for him in front of their – it must be said – gorgeous building (bagpipe starts at about the 9:30 mark).

@Benedick: That sounds so beautiful. The upside of all the rain here for the past two weeks is that in those brief seconds when the burning ball in the sky emerges, there have been some jaw-droppingly gorgeous rainbows across San Francisco (beyond the usual in the Castro).

@mellbell: Okay, that’s cool bagpipes.

@mellbell: I actually like bagpipes; I love the Dropkick Murphys, and the old original band I forgot the name of, and I even still love the Waterboys, and most of all, I love the old, forgotten U-2 clone band that came out with U-2, and contributed through its influence, a lot of U-2’s sound, I am stalling, because I cannot remember their name, Oh, Big Country, I love big country, because they managed to find a way to play the bagpipes on the guitar, and credibly.

But you see, I am from bog-irish extraction. Lowest of the low, paddie tenant-farmer potato ranchers, my grandad, he moved to Amerrika to shovel coal into the boiler of a Consolidated Edison electric generating station, did you know, back in the days when electricity was new, someone stood in a dark hot place in front of a furnace door, and he had a shovel, and he had to shovel that coal, by hand, into the firebox at that electric plant?

So there is no trace whatsoever in my family’s real cultural heritage, for bagpipes, they had nothing to do with them, back on the ould sod.

But despite that, I am frequently invited to parties, and weddings, and events, for which one of my relatives has paid to have a bagpiper present, some pompous, kilted fuckhead from the local Police Fife and Drum Corp, with a dagger in his sock and all, and he will play Amazing Grace, which, what with we are all Catholics, is absurd beyond words, and I can just puke, I gotta tell ya, at this desperate, and misguided, effort by my own people to connect with some sense of cultural heritage, and they are getting it wrong, and its just sad, is all.

I should add that they also always have a keg at these events, and often, lots of Guiness, that protestant stout, and jamesons and even sometimes when we are lucky, some Tullamore Dew, so I suppose there is some authenticity in these events. And we yell and scream and fight, and then make up with tears and confessions of “I love you, man,” so there is some authentic Irishness going on.

@Promnight: The screech of the things is enough to braid the hair on your back – but, once, during a sojourn and respite in the Orkneys, I tripped over a local band that managed to make the pipes contemporary and weirdly danceable, an outfit called Three Peace Sweet. I bought the debut album on the spot. Still have it to play when I need to get the blood boiling. Some of their music is still available on the Web:

@Capt Howdy: I can’t imagine the quality of the research. I get all my news from homeless people screaming at me on the street until I travel. Then I am treated to ‘quality’ non-fiction like the Discovery channel running a story on Von Daniken and History channel featuring Nostradamus. (This or something close to it really happened.) I am sure about the Nostrdamus feature but not the other once but it was equally insane. The whole culture is being fed shit unto babbling imbecility.

@Promnight: You would hate early Korn, however. Metal and bagpipes don’t mix. Singer married a pron actress, has mike stand designed by H.R. Geiger. The life sent the bass player Fieldy and guitarist Head to quit the band. As Cheech and Chong said, the used to be all messed up on drugs, now they’re all messed up on the Lord.

I like the fact that they approach the Bible and Von Daniken with equal seriousness.

@Capt Howdy: That is the root of our cultural derangement: the mainstreaming of quackery. The 2012 end of the world scenario, Nostradamus, Von Daniken are paraded on the History Channel, Nat Geo. and Discovery Channel, media you’d expect would have some standards. But no, they’re all played as if they have equal legitimacy, at least in the eyes of the viewing public. When I travel and actually see TV, it is shocking to see these kinds of subjects covered at all – much less on channels that are supposed to trade in non-fiction. These are subjects suited perfectly for those little books by the cash register at the supermarket for crazy old ladies. Instead, mass audiences are bathed in this madness and some proportion take the subjects seriously and thus the ranks of the magical-thinking brigades expand apace, marching a million abreast from the vast toxic wasteland of surreality television.

@Capt Howdy: The gospel of Thomas is a hoot. Sonogod blowing people the fuck away with steely glance. That should be a made for TV movie.

the show that I saw on the book of revelations was actually a two part show on the Antichrist.
but when the book is explained in the context of the history of the time it makes perfect sense.
all the horrific imagery is completely based in the reality of the time.

@Capt Howdy: They get the title wrong which informs much of the hyperventilation surrounding it. Properly speaking it is The Revelation of St. John the Divine. Calling it Revelations throws the meaning out of whack right off the bat. And then the fundies confuse St. John with Jesus’ main squeeze the apostle John. Of course it’s about Rome.

when you read it like that the imagery is quite wonderful. as good as any Stephen King nightmare.

@FlyingChainSaw: Mrs. Prom and I call it all “-porn.” History Channel concerns itself with Nazi-porn, armament-porn, lots of crime-porn, and yes, Von Daniken and Nostradamus and the Loch Ness Monster and American Democracy and other popular myths. I blame Leonard Nimoy, that old show is still kicking around.

Apparently, if you make a documentary about such shit, the cable networks will buy it, for a few pennies, and play it forever.


History Channel?

I always thought that big H stood for the Hitler Channel

@Capt Howdy: Yeah, that sums it up, much of what I mentioned above is more Discovery, Nature, Nat Geo, etc.

Whatever happened to those battling robots? That was amusing at least.

@Capt Howdy: Somebody famous once said “its not what he doesn’t know that makes him dangerous, its what he knows, that just ain’t so.” This would apply to all the fucktards among us in their teeming millions.

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