The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now

Thanks Sally Kern. You Have Made Me Ashamed to Be an Oklahoman.
March 10, 2008, 6:49 am
Filed under: Media, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

Just when I try to fill my thoughts with the people, past and present, that make Oklahoma a wonderful place to be associated with, including the likes of S.E. Hinton, the Flaming Lips, and Wayman Tisdale, along comes something like this that serves to be a cold, hard slap in the face that not everything is fun and frolic in the Sooner State, and I’m thrown back into the dark reality of things that make me absolutely ashamed to be an Oklahoman. This is one of those times.

Hat tip:

Click on me to see the YouTube video posted by the Victory Fund.

Sorry for being slow on the uptake, but I needed a few days for this unbelieveably repugnant screed to sink in. This has become a national thing, which has been noted, briefly or not, on numerous sites. The original publishers of the video did not reveal the legislator’s name (Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, District 84) but anyone who’s been here long enough can put two and two together easily enough.

It’s pointless for me to repeat the clarion call to write to her — many others in the blogosphere are doing that — but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let her know that her worldview isn’t wholly embraced:

2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 332, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

(405) 557-7348

Kern, the wife of a Baptist minister and a onetime schoolteacher, has used her position in the Oklahoma State Legislature to introduce bills that can be summed up gently as nonconducive to the cause of progressivism (read: Moving into the 21st Century instead of back into the 20th Century) in the state of Oklahoma. A fairly thorough (and admittedly slanted towards my point of view on things) summation of some of her legislative action can be found here. (hat tip: Okie Funk).

If people in Oklahoma don’t want to be the subject of derision, ridicule and hateful stereotype by the rest of the nation because they are still viewed in many segments of American society as ignorant hicks and religious nuts, then why do people keep sending individuals like Sally Kern to the Oklahoma State Legislature?

Mrs. Kern is entitled to her opinion, however sickeningly ignorant it is, as I am entitled to mine. That said, in all my years of public education (mind you, my years in the public educational system were from 1971 until 1984) I was never subjected to a so-called “gay agenda” and no one I know that has children in public schools now talk about their children being subjected to a “gay agenda.” No one that is gay/lesbian has ever tried to push any kind of “agenda” on me. They aren’t in the business of “pushing an agenda.” They are in the business of living their lives, working at their jobs, being active in their communities, and everything else that most Americans do in their daily lives.

OTOH, I do find it very interesting that another group has been actively trying to push an agenda on me and the rest of the state (if not the whole country) for quite some time now. That group would be fundamentalist Christians (like Sally Kern), whose arrow-narrow (and often literal) interpretation of the scriptures is sometimes laughable and often frightening. And more often than not — in Oklahoma and elsewhere — they are the ones that are behind any push to restrict women’s reproductive rights, to restrict the teaching of certain scientific subjects in schools, and to constitutionally mandate that “marriage” should be defined by their own narrow dogmatic definition of marriage.

So, who’s the group with the agenda that wants to subjugate Americans to their lifestyle?

And by the way, Mrs. Kern, equating homosexuals with terrorists — smart move, lady. Tell that to the multitudes of Oklahoma Citians that lost a friend or loved one, or had a friend or loved one maimed and scarred for life, on April 19, 1995. Or how about State Senator Andrew Rice, who lost his brother at WTC on September 11, 2001? That statement alone absolutely mocks those who have been touched by *real* terrorism, and if you find it in your heart to be ashamed of anything, it should be that.


Thematic Break: Of Ice and Living Without Cable (Updated)
December 17, 2007, 9:58 am
Filed under: Daily life, Not exactly sports | Tags: , , , , , ,

[IMAGE: My own, taken December 10, 2007 on OU’s South Oval. More frosty pictures HERE]

I owe a better explanation for why I’ve been a neglectful Blog Mom again.

Of course last weekend about this time the ass-kicking ice storm whacked Oklahoma. Tulsa got it worse than the OKC area, but that’s not like OKC got off easy. I had the misfortune of watching a tree limb about the circumference of, oh, one of KU football coach Mark Mangino’s thighs fall on a car belonging to one of my neighbors and being unable to do anything but watch helplessly. I have electric heat, so when the power went out in the wee hours of last Monday morning — roughly a week ago right about now — I was basically screwed. I stayed a while at my work — at least there were lights, heat and a television set there.

The electricity came back on sometime Tuesday afternoon while I was at work, so I wasn’t home to witness that joyous occasion. That actually makes me one of the lucky ones because there are still pockets in Norman and some folks that still don’t have their power restored.

I haven’t had cable for a week, and in some ways I am amazed that maybe I’ve not missed it as much as I thought I would. I miss it a lot less given some of my dealings with the cable company. I realize that this is a stressful situation for them and I realize they are dealing with a lot more angry customers than just me, but that’s absolutely no excuse for being rude to those customers (including myself) or for stonewalling. One cable “customer service” representative (OKC and suburbs — Edmond, Moore, Norman, Mid and/or Del City, etc. are Cox markets) had the gall to ask me if my husband was around because the name on the account is a masculine name (I prefer to call it a unisex name since it is appropriate for both sexes) and he needed to talk to “the man of the house.” I informed him I was the sole account holder and admonished him to address me as “Ms. (sterrapin)” for the remainder of the call. The CSR did straighten up, but was slightly snide and condescending for the rest of the call.

By yesterday, cable service had been restored to my neighborhood, all except for me. Cox kept telling me to reboot my box — I did that repeatedly and followed the instructions to the letter and the box would not receive a signal. I tried disconnecting the box altogether and plugging the wall line into the back of the television set. Nothing. I told Cox CSRs this so often I had it memorized like a school recitation. The final time and the final straw with a CSR was Saturday afternoon when I got someone who made me set a password and provide an answer to a question that only I can answer before he would even hear the reason I called to begin with — and that took almost 10 minutes. And oh yeah, when he asked where I was calling from, I told him the obvious answer: Norman. He came back with, “You must choose one of the following: Tulsa or Oklahoma City.” I’m like, “are you fucking kidding me?” So I told him, “Well, I guess since Norman is close to Oklahoma City, then Oklahoma City.” When I finally got to my spiel, about how I had called Cox every single day since Wednesday asking when my cable would be restored, the guy on the other end informed me that it would be December 28 before they could even fit me in for an appointment. December 28. Yes. Even though all my neighbors that have cable have their service restored to normal and for the most part my neighborhood is back to normal except for the shattered trees that sort of look like they were plucked from the forest at Bastogne post-Battle of the Bulge.

For what its worth, I have decided to terminate my cable service. I have much better things to spend $65 a month on. If I want news, I can listen to National Public Radio (actually I’ve been a donor to my local NPR station for several years); if I want sports updates I can listen to ESPNRadio, either over the local affiliates or on the internet; NBA Audio League Pass is FREE this season and I’ve not missed many Blazers or Bulls games thanks to that. If I want to follow the college teams I care about, the internet comes in handy for that too. But for now I suppose I’ll be watching a hell of a lot more DVDs (some recommendations of late: The Virgin Suicides; American Hardcore — a documentary about what I at least consider MY “’80s music”; and the film version of the Broadway version of John Waters’ Hairspray. John Travolta in a fat suit and a dress as Edna Turnblad is a must-see, and he does it well).

But damn … no NBA games on “free television” until Christmas Day (and a game to look forward to still despite the inactivity of Greg Oden — Blazers versus Sonics), and no college basketball unless its on CBS, which means having to tolerate Billy Packer, and furthermore only getting to see what CBS wants to show us, which means not a lot of ACC games, not a lot of Big 12 games unless they’re teams in the Top 25 (yeah, like I want to see Kansas, or Texas, or North Carolina … I do actually, but not that much).

I will gladly listen to games, but I’d rather watch them.

But I’m not sure I want to be a slave to a cable company anymore. Because I live in a garage apartment, a dish is kind of not an option, so it has to be cable or nothing, and as far as cable service, there is zero choice because this company has the contract (read: monopoly). And honestly, outside of sports, or whatever’s interesting on PBS or the History Channel, or checking the Weather Channel, I don’t really watch a heck of a lot of television. You can take your sitcoms and hourlong network dramas, your precious 30 Rock and The Office and Desperate Housewives and shove them, I’m not interested. CNN, Fox and MSNBC? Forget them they all suck. I’ll own up to one TV vice: Adult Swim. But during hoops season it gets passed over, and even so by late October I was exasperated with the number of reruns of shows like Robot Chicken, Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros. I was seeing versus fresh episodes … and on Mondays I wasn’t getting home from work in time to watch The Boondocks (huge favorite of mine).

Maybe I can no longer justify the expense, and like I said, I could spend that $65 a month on other things.

I’d kill to be able to just buy the channels I would want on my cable system, but I’ll give up on that dream.

[UPDATE: I arrived home from work to discover the clock display on my cable box, something I’d not seen in a week and was probably a good thing. Much to my shock, they’ve restored my cable service. I’m still disenchanted with the cable company though … but they have promised to pro-rate my bill for the week my service was out. That’s fair. I really SHOULD kill my television, though — even though I tend to be very selective about what I watch — so this is something I will give more thought to in the coming weeks.]

Thematic Break: Remove Me From Your Space. NOW.
November 9, 2007, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , , ,

Need to vent about this, in the form of an open letter:

Dear (Popular Social Networking Site) Kahuna, Whoever the Hell You Are:


I submitted a “Cancel” on my account last Sunday. According to your own website if a user cancels his/her account, the comments they’ve posted, blog posts, bulletins they’ve posted (lots), pictures (a grand total of one and that was of a tiny tiny turtle held on the fingertip of a zookeeper), whatever — poof — all gone. Supposedly.

So why are my comments still visible on the pages of a pair of friends (online friends and real-life friends as well) still visible? Is this because you’ve yet to vaporize me? What’s the holdup?

Look I understand you probably don’t get why someone would want to actually *leave.* But trust me, I can come up with them because I’m just anti-friendly enough to do that.

First of all, the tacky and ridiculous (and no doubt unkind to dialup users, which I am thankfully not) Flash ads screaming “YOU HAVE THREE NEW CRUSH ALERTS!” or “HOW _________ ARE YOU?” (insert Evil, Emo, Dumb, Horny, or whatever in the blank space, it’s probably just another obnoxious flash ad). Somebody pays for this crap, right? Yup, usually companies deeply desirous of clogging your inbox with, um, unappetizing-looking canned processed meat products. Before I signed up with another e-mail provider I just adored sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of messages in my inbox encouraging me to buy products to enlarge my non-existent penis.

And really, if something were about to crush me I’m not sure that an Internet warning would suffice. It isn’t like I take my computer *everywhere* and, well, if I’ve been crushed to death I’m probably not going to be checking e-mail. I really don’t see why this warrants more screaming, ugly advertisements.

Oh, you mean THAT kind of crush. Oh yeah I forgot, (Popular Social Networking Site, hereinafter styled “PSNS”) is the middle school of the Internet, rife with ugly, awkward 13 year olds with raging acne AND hormones who don’t have a clue how swiftly life is about to screw them front, back and sideways in every cavity that God drilled into them. Um yeah like I really want to go back to those days (but I’ll tell you what: No two television programs illustrated those awkward years better than Freaks and Geeks and The Wonder Years).

And sorry, not all your users were a) looking for a hookup, whether illegal/illicit or not; b) wanting to post their drunken party pictures or c) wanting to post gigantic, slow-loading, byte-choking .jpgs of Every Single One Of Their Favorite Rock Bands They Ever Listened To In Their Entire Life on their profile page. C’mon, you know who you are, there are a whole bunch of you on (PSNS), you’re like an army or something. While waiting for your pages to load I forgot why I went to see your pages in the first place. And please, I’m not a music hater at all. I don’t even hate *your* music (unless you listen to country music or something, in which case we have problems). Sorry if I misused my (PSNS) account for, oh I don’t know, other stuff?

BTW, this blog was born on (PSNS); the Greg Oden “birthday party’s over” and Maryland basketball uniform rant posts were originally posted there. Thankfully I wised up and opened a WordPress account, ’cause all I wanted to do was write anyway.

And oh yes, how could I forget this one: You can do all the fun custom crap and be able to use the more advanced features that PSNS has to offer … provided you are using MS Explorer and, as is the case frequently, a Windows PC. Gee, way to be really be inclusive of users who prefer different operating systems (hello Mac and Linux), or to use browsers like Firefox which, well, don’t suck. And that cute little message on one such custom feature: “Mac and Linux users — we’re working on it!” does not suffice. It’s been there a while. You just don’t care.

Yes I knew exactly what I was getting into when I started a (PSNS) account. I’m a dumbass. But you offer users the opportunity to cancel their accounts. By not honoring my request to cancel my account, why I think that’s bad faith.

So please get off your ass and zap my account. Thanks!

Love always Bite me

— sterrapin.

Thematic Break — The Shelf Life of Mike Gundy’s Hissy Fit

Okay, it was great at the time (and justified), but the clock on the Mike Gundy postgame presser rant is now well past 15 minutes.

Given Gundy’s righteous wrath at The Oklahoman‘s Jenni Carlson displayed in his comments, the same kind of intensity seems a little bit misplaced when applied to selling Toyotas (although — $6000 off? Daaamn!).