David Bowie

David Bowie poster by Rex Ray

The heavens have opened up their indigo arms and wrapped him in a velvet robed embrace. Even so he burns holes, stars, cigarette burn scars into the fabric of the heavens. He’s just that bright. And these lights streak and fall like shooting stars, like tears made up of diamond dust swirling in a celestial waterfall born, in all its brilliance, from our collective heart. Our eyes flood heaven with a river that he rides and he, our golden barque. The light that he is and that we have made him shimmers, puts on such a show, moving from galaxy to galaxy because even heaven is too small a town for someone who glam-shines so. — The Man Who Fell to Earth Falls Up, 1/10/2016, Annette Marie Smith

Howling at the moon commences (and other notes)

Friday notes of interest

Oprah Winfrey says, “This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it’s time to say goodbye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and feels right in my spirit.” Source

The question is raised, “Did U.S. make mistake in skipping vaccine additive?” Source

Testicles are not like peacock feathers. Source

Helicopter-parents‘ are offered classes in how to ‘de-overparent’. Source

Howling at the moon (New Moon midnight movie showings) commences. Source

And finally, a poem with a wolf in it because the New Moon movie release has me thinking about wolves of all sorts:

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, By Richard Herman Eschke

Red Riding Hood
Annette Marie Hyder
From The Real Reason the Queen Hated Snow (and Other Stories)

Well honestly
of course I knew better than to talk
to the big bad wolf.
My mother warned me
all about his glamorous teeth
how fast he could run
and his stalking techniques.

But picture him
as a self-deprecating musician
flashing me a sob story
instead of his teeth
and being clever enough and then some
to lure me off the path
with his down-on-his-luck blues
knowing what I had in my basket
was his for the taking

but also knowing
it wouldn’t taste half so sweet
if he couldn’t deceive
it freely from me cozened out of my habit
of wariness fit for me so precisely
by my own mother’s hands
and colored red for stop
red for ware
red for urgence and be aware.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing
is an ill-suited dog
for a red hooded girl
but his shabby jeans and rumpled shirt
made me want to
clothe him in something better.
So I took off my habit
and let him in.

Lady Gaga’s shocking display

YouTube video via The Daily Beast

Purple be-wigged and thigh-high booted, Lady Gaga gives an interviewer what-for about the double standard that women artists have to deal with in expressing sexuality as opposed to male rock artists (right around the 1:55 mark):

Lady Gaga: You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting her with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch and talking about how I make music ’cause I love fast cars and fucking girls, you’d call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I’m a female, because I make pop music, you’re judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I’m just a rock star.

Then Lady Gaga is asked a question which provokes her into making a lurid display of her ignorance of what the word “feminist” means:

Interviewer: Are you also a feminist?
Lady Gaga: I’m not a feminist – I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars…

Not only is she showing her ignorance of what the word feminist means, she is articulating the tired and worn cliche of feminists who don’t like (let alone love!) men. For a cutting edge artist, her ideas are surprisingly outdated. Here we have the oxymoron of an avant-garde individual sealing the envelope instead of pushing it — as far as equality goes anyway.

But where did she get the idea that feminists don’t like beer, bars and muscle cars? Is there some special stratum of man-beer-bar-and-car hating feminists that LG has been exposed to repeatedly thus leading to her erroneous conclusions about feminists in general?

Look it up Lady Gaga

There are many different ideologies of feminism: Socialist Feminism, Radical Feminism, Liberal Feminism, Black Feminism, Post-colonial Feminism and Third World Feminism, to name just a few (here is a link to a quick overview page for those listed).

What ties them all together though, what really defines a feminist, is the underlying belief that men and women should have equal respect and equal rights (Five dictionaries with the definition of feminism).

So Lady Gaga, are you telling us that you do not believe that men and women should have equal rights? It sounds like you want equal rights to be as sexual in your music and your videos as your male counterparts. I would call that a desire for equality in your workplace.  Don’t you want that for the rest of us women too?

Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know

To see some of the many faces of feminism and what feminism means to feminists from around the world, from various age groups and backgrounds, check out the Facing Feminism: Feminist I Know project.

Michael Jackson dies

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

One of the saddest days in music history

It is being reported everywhere that Michael Jackson has passed away at 50.

TMZ is reporting that:

In the moments following Michael Jackson’s death — so many people rushed to the Internet, that it practically stopped the entire WWW in its tracks.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, AIM–just a few of the scores of major web sites bombed by a tidal wave of traffic. Most of the sites still worked, but the epically high traffic numbers caused them all to move at a snail’s pace.

The last time the ‘net had this kind of traffic — Obama’s inauguration.

Despite his many astonishingly bad choices over the years, his genius and his creativity demand respect — can’t be ignored. Nor can his desire for the world to be a better place. Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

michael jackson
august 29, 1958 – june 25, 2009

Annette Marie Hyder

his feet always jonesing for one more tap
this time he danced right out of this life
so to speak
packed up his glitteragalia for good: sparkly gloves
one to a pair, insignia
plenty to spare
and faces
ever changing

leaving behind
children, songs and scandal
but also something that shimmers
in our collective consciousness —
a signature slide moonwalks through our mind
replays with the haunting sound, something that binds
us in the words and the melody
of we are the world

Related Links:

Today an angel named Farrah took flight to many a person’s dismay
Why do we care?
Michael Jackson: The Official Site

Rihanna back with alleged abuser Chris Brown, hook, line and sinker

Photo courtesy of gallicwars

People Magazine is reporting that Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together.

CBS reports further:

The singers have reportedly reconciled less than three weeks after
Brown allegedly assaulted Rihanna the night before the Grammy Awards.

Julie Dam, People’s senior editor and clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere talked to Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen about the apparent reconciliation.

“Julie, People broke the story that they got back together. How did it happen?” Chen asked.

“Well, you know he did reach out to her on her birthday last week.
And since then they’ve sort of been mutually talking. And as of last
week, they were together in Miami,” Dam said.

“I think it was sort of the big moment when he called her on her
birthday and they both care about each other, we’re told, and they want
to work out their issues,” Dam said.

“Jeff, does this surprise you that they’re back together?”

“Julie, it doesn’t surprise me at all because we see, in the cycle
of domestic violence, if, in fact, this happened and we think it has,
of course, that when the perpetrator, the abuser, finds himself in a
situation of he’s in trouble in the relationship, he’s on the outs in
the relationship, he will beg to come back. He will send gifts, and we
know gifts have been sent. He will say, ‘I won’t do it again.’ And with
the victim of the domestic violence, we find that they sometimes blame
themselves or feel that they’re responsible for what has happened,”
Gardere said.

Read the full article here.

Backhanded to the floor for being sassy

My grandmother Mary left her first husband, Earnest, because of abuse. Earnest raised his hand to Mary and backhanded her across the face.

But before Mary left Earnest, right after he slapped her so hard she fell to the floor temporarily dazed, she got back on her feet. She made sure to snatch his eye-glasses off his face, throw them to the ground; stomp on them and crush them. She then took a frying pan and chased him around the kitchen table with it until he fled out the door.

Earnest was bigger than her and stronger than her. He initiated the attack by backhanding her across the face. Mary ended it by breaking his eye-glasses and picking up a domestic utensil and transforming it into a blunt weapon which she wielded to defend herself.

Mary told me all about the many, many abusive acts that led up to that one time Earnest hit her so hard her head spun: he belittled her, he threw things at her, he used hateful language, he screamed so loud at her that her ears hurt. But that’s not all.

All her fault

He blamed her for the problems in their relationship and he provided proofs. He said she was a bitch, that she made him miserable. He proved it to her by getting drunk. He told her she was ugly. He proved it to her by cheating on her.  He told her she was stupid. He proved it to her by duping her. He blamed her for his temper and loss of
self-control — he said that she provoked him. He proved it to her by treating
her, and only her, in that violent way.

Bait and switch

Image of fish hook via wikipedia

Mary stayed married to Earnest for years of abusive behavior that stopped just short of being physical. Why would she have stayed with him after a pattern emerged of abusive behavior? Why wait to be hit before leaving? Why would any woman stay with someone like that? One reason is the old bait and switch. When Earnest was wooing Mary, he told her how happy she made him, how beautiful she was, how clever. He treated her special and she fell in love with him. His wooing self was the bait. Once he landed her she got the switch. And Mary kept looking for the bait-Earnest long after the switch occurred — right up until he backhanded her to the ground and she could finally see how sharp the hook was that he had caught her on.

Fiery temper

The story of my grandmother breaking Earnest’s glasses and chasing him with a frying pan has turned into a family legend. But it’s one that’s been told to show her spitfire ways and fiery temper. I think something got lost in the telling. I think it’s less about her temper and more about her indomitable spirit. Fighting back does not mean that you possess a temper of legendary proportions. It means you wont take things lying down.

Earnest never stopped trying to get Mary back. Years later he would still call and leave messages for her that he just wanted to hear her voice, “Nobody’s voice can touch me like yours, Mary.” Yeah.

Current events: grow some legs and walk away

Rihanna has me thinking about my grandmother’s story. Chris Brown is wooing Rihanna to win her back after his alleged assault. He sent her jewels and flowers and presents, lures to lull her to him. I see him putting himself on that hook. He is comfortably ensconced in the bend and making himself look like the only thing for her. But once she bites she’ll find the switch has been made –again — and that she’s on the end of his hook. Right now, it looks like she is caught: hook, line and sinker. I wish for Rihanna the same strength that my grandmother had — to grow some legs and walk away.

Image courtesy of gosmokefree.co.uk

Annette Marie Hyder

Barbed kisses —
it can happen to anyone.
Don’t panic.
But don’t just flounder
leaving it there to fester either
because it must be removed.
There is the danger of infection
of scarring
and pain

but there is also the promise
that the person who has you on the end of that hook
is not going to be satisfied with anything less
than pulling you around against your will
pushing you to twist at the end
digging the hook in deeper with every move you make.

The barb won’t work its way out.
It wont disappear.
Band-Aids and kisses will not blunt its sharp tip.

I say remove it with care. I say have your hands clean.
But I say if there is no other way
then tear it out by any and all means.

Smack the water a hard goodbye
with the fin you will use to escape from your drowning.
Rip that fin in two to make yourself legs
so you can walk away.

Related link:
Rihanna alleged victim of Chris Brown

Salma Hayek breastfeeds African baby

Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

The Examiner.com is reporting that Salma Hayek breastfed a very hungry baby boy in Sierra Leone:

Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, in part fueled by malnutrition. Physicians there told Hayek they would like to see mothers breastfeed for a full two years but that stigma too often gets in the way.

Salma Hayek on Breastfeeding

Hayek said her decision to breastfeed another woman’s child was an attempt to diminish the stigma placed on women for breast feeding. At the time she was still breastfeeding her 1-year-old daughter.

Hayek said that the idea of helping a child in this way had a long tradition in her family. She related a story about her great-grandmother many years ago in Mexico saving the starving baby of a stranger by breastfeeding the child.

Read the entire article here.

Cross nursing and wet nursing

The La Leche League has an interesting article about attitudes and responses to cross nursing and wet nursing. You can read it here. From the La Leche League: Cross Nursing–the occasional nursing of another’s infant while the mother continues to nurse her own child, often in a child care situation. Wet Nursing–the complete nursing of another’s infant, often for pay.

Male lactation

Did you know that it is possible for men to breastfeed? Yes. It is. Scientific America reports on this extremely rare occurrence.

Relevant links:
ABC News video of Salma Hayek cross nursing an African baby.
South African Times reports on man who breastfed daughter.
Male lactation listing at Wikipedia
Nation Master Encyclopedia entry on the Dayak Fruit Bat: The Dayak fruit bat is the only known mammalian species where male lactation might be standard.

Rihanna alleged victim of Chris Brown assault

Photo courtesy of Wireimage.com

The LA Times reports that Robin Fenty, aka Rihanna, is the named alleged victim
in the Chris Brown case in which he allegedly inflicted horrific injuries on her and threatened to kill her.

TMZ has details.

Naming the victim

I know that someone will take issue with Rihanna’s name being published and argue that her privacy has been violated. I’m waiting for it.

Geneva Overholser, Missouri School of Journalism professor and the
Pulitzer prize winner for a series on rape, argues that “in the long
run, we’ll never get rid of the stigma if we don’t treat these like
regular crimes. … It’s just not ethical to make a choice about guilt
or innocence, which is effectively what we do. It makes us look like we
are assuming innocence on one part, guilt on another. … We should not
be determining who deserves our protection.”

I’m of the opinion that shame is for criminals.

Blaming the victim

And of course, there will be those who will ask what Rihanna “did to provoke” Chris Brown. No matter what she did, violent behavior is an abuser’s choice.

From Helpguide.org, Domestic Violence and Abuse:

Victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence may be men or women, although
women are more commonly victimized. (Note:this article will use the pronoun “he” for
convenience only)  This abuse happens among heterosexual couples and
in same-sex partnerships. Except for the gender difference, domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate.
It happens within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. The abuse may occur
during a relationship, while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence is not due to the abuser’s loss of control
over his or her behavior. In fact, violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to
take control over his wife or partner.

Violent behavior is an abuser’s choice.

Reasons we know an abuser’s behaviors are not about anger and rage:

  • He does not batter other individuals – the boss who does not give
    him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side
    of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person
    he says he loves.
  • If you ask an abused woman, “can he stop when the phone rings or the
    police come to the door?” She will say “yes”. Most often when the
    police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who
    may look hysterical. If he were truly “out of control” he would not be able
    to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
  • The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places
    where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were “out of control” or “in
    a rage” he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches

Here’s a link to information about resources, phone numbers, websites and secular, religious, and government programs to help victims of abuse: Abused Women.org