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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Diary #648

As regular readers know, I’m serious about my traditions and rituals, and not inclined to treat them in a loosy-goosy fashion.  So it takes a lot to delay my tree-trimming, which I tend to do on the day after Thanksgiving like clockwork.  But I really wanted to get the waterproof coating (see this coming Friday’s column) done in the shower before it’s too cold to work with the stuff, and since we’re supposed to be getting a coldfront this weekend I didn’t want to risk delaying.  So after Chekhov and I went out and found this tree last Friday, I put it in the stand and gave it water, but did nothing else with it that day.  On Saturday I had to do the second coat in the shower, plus too many other small chores (like making stock from the turkey carcass) to have time.  But Sundays are my light writing day, so after I finished the third coat I was able to knock out my other chores pretty quickly, and trimmed the tree Sunday night.  I think it came out pretty nicely; the trees around here are spindly compared to the ones we had in Oklahoma, but it’s still very satisfying to get a tree from one’s own woods.  But while I’ve got your attention: please consider donating to my toy drive!  The last few years I’ve started slow and still did well, so I’m not worried about this year’s slow start again.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to remind y’all every chance I get!

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I can’t even breathe.  –  Neal Saunders

This seemed like the right song to memorialize composer Ned Rorem, especially since it’s also seasonally appropriate.  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel; Dave Crisp; Jesse Walker, Franklin Harris, & Dan Savage; Cop Crisis (x2); and Carol Fenton, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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You can’t win an unwinnable war.  –  José Irizarry

R.I.P. Carol Leigh

Carol Leigh, one of the leading figures of the US sex worker movement (she was the person who actually coined the term “sex work”) has died at 71 after a 7-year battle with uterine cancer.  Carol became involved in activism just a year after she became a sex worker in 1977, and was involved in nearly every aspect  of the movement throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and Oughts; even later she was always happy to give advice and guidance to younger activists like me.  She was so well-known that even the mainstream media (including the AP, the NewYork Times and the San Francisco Chronicle) published obituaries, but the title links to one by a sex-work-friendly reporter (albeit in a publication which can’t seem to make up its mind); I’ll also be linking memorial essays from those who knew her as they appear.

Perquisites

Are statists really so delusional they can’t grasp that this is inevitable when men are given this kind of power and privilege?

José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history…[for] conspiring with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive sportscars, Tiffany jewels and [women] around the world.  But…Irizarry says he won’t go down for this alone, accusing some long-trusted DEA colleagues of joining him in skimming millions of dollars from drug money laundering stings to fund a decade’s worth of luxury overseas travel, fine dining, top seats at sporting events and frat house-style debauchery…federal agents, prosecutors, informants and in some cases cartel smugglers themselves were all in on the three-continent joyride known as “Team America” that chose cities for money laundering pick-ups mostly for party purposes or to coincide with Real Madrid soccer or Rafael Nadal tennis matches.  That included stops along the way in VIP rooms of Caribbean strip joints, Amsterdam’s red-light district and aboard a Colombian yacht that launched with plenty of booze and more than a dozen prostitutes…All this revelry was rooted, Irizarry said, in a…reali[stic assessment] among DEA agents…that there’s nothing they can do to make a dent in the drug war anyway…“We know we’re not making a difference…The drug war is…a very fun game that we were playing”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1104)

Useful idiots destroying any possibility that the facial recognition djinni can ever be rebottled:

…public anxiety about crime seems to be peaking. Determined to [capitalize on hysteria in order to win]…votes), major cities including San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans are turning to…surveillance as a [pretend] solution.  This marks a big shift, especially for a city like San Francisco, which in 2019 became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by…police.  Boston, Portland, Oakland, and Jackson, Mississippi, have since followed…But…the [public is fickle and fearful]…“We went from a long-term view to an extremely short-term view,” explained Tracy Rosenberg…[of] Oakland Privacy…“[concerns about] the end of public anonymity…ha[ve] largely been replaced by a narrative that [says]…the short-term implications on your life right now are more important than any sort of future surveillance state”…San Francisco’s…passed a policy that will allow [cops]…to [root through]…footage of private security cameras [without a warrant]…Cities…expanding the use of surveillance technology…risk entrenching a permanent surveillance infrastructure that may be difficult to dismantle down the road.  “The history of surveillance suggests that it’s not easy to put the genie back in the bottle,” argues Rosenberg.  One of the most high-profile examples of this dynamic comes out of New Orleans, where [politicians] are poised to expand police surveillance less than two years after passing a sweeping facial recognition ban

Torture Chamber (#1186)

It’d be great if US cities could flush their toxic waste before somebody dies:

…Forks, Washington, will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit…filed by the family of a young…woman who committed suicide in jail after being harassed by a guard with a long history of misconduct…John Gray…would later be convicted of sexually assaulting four other [helpless caged] women.  But when Kimberly Bender—a 23-year-old Quileute tribal member struggling with drug addiction and depression—tried to report Gray’s misconduct, the Forks jail [blew her off while Gray]…sexually torment[ed] her…[until] she…hanged herself in her cell…

Torture Chamber (#1189)

I’m sure they helpfully yelled “Stop faking!” at him as he died:

…Thousands die while locked [in cages by the State] each year…a third of [them]…are younger than 55, many suffering from untreated or poorly treated illnesses, with the prison healthcare system frequently deciding that treatments for common and debilitating ailments are not “medically necessary”…“If it’s not life-threatening in that moment…they put it off and tell you to…take ibuprofen,” said Tonya Wilson…an advocate with Freedom Project…[Clifford] Farrar, [a type I diabetic] who required four insulin shots a day, was initially given access to needles, test strips and a glucometer…But…prison…[bureaucrats in Washington state soon started refusing to pay] for…insulin supplies…and…on 27 December [of last year], Farrar…was found lying on the ground…with blood coming from his mouth…he…was declared dead 20 minutes later…the prison had repeatedly neglected his health, including by denying him supplies that could have prevented his seizures, failing to check on him when he did not arrive to get his insulin shot, and responding too slowly to his final emergency…

Creepy Coppers

Just another typical and representative cop:

A Chesapeake [Virginia cop named]…Timothy M. Newton…was charged with more than 20 felony child pornography offenses [after an unknown party snitched on him]…

To Molest and Rape (#1275)

This just keeps getting worse:

[Typical and representative] Kansas City [cop]…Roger Golubski…[faces charges of conspiring with] Cecil Brooks, LeMark Roberson and Richard Robinson…[to run a violent pimping scheme] from 1996 to 1998…Brooks, Roberson and Robinson all…used physical beatings, sexual assault and threats to compel the young women to provide sexual services to men…Golubski…accepted [bribes] from Brooks, provided protection from law enforcement, and forcibly raped a[t least one] young woman…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Diary #647

One of the ways in which long, bright days are bad for my mental health is that they disrupt my sleep.  After a long day of anxiety, the last thing I want is for the sun to set so damned late that it’s been dark less than 3 hours when it’s time to go to bed.  My brain takes a while to wind down, and that’s even more true on very sunny days than on ordinary or overcast ones.  What that means is, before I started using cannabis to sleep, it might be 2 AM before I could get to sleep, and then I’d awaken about once an hour until maybe 7, after which I could forget sleeping any more.  Even with cannabis, my brain tends to race for a while after my head meets the pillow, and I wake up more often than is typical.  I consider it satisfactory if I wake up three times in a night, but in the summer, even with cannabis, it’s more often five or six times.  In autumn and winter, on the other hand, my brain feels calmer all day, and I don’t even start cooking dinner until all the chores are done and the sun is set.  Sometimes I even manage to fit my shower in before dinner, so I can sit down to eat nice and clean and relaxed, with no harsh sunlight streaming in the windows.  When bedtime comes, it’s already been dark for almost 8 hours; we turn off the heat before retiring, so I can wrap up in blankets to stay warm while breathing cool air.  It’s not unusual for me to wake up only twice, and on a few blessed occasions only once.  The sleep itself feels deeper and more restful, and I usually awaken about an hour after dawn feeling relatively content and ready to face the day.  Given what I’ve written here, and that I’ve often described sleep as the greatest of earthly pleasures, I think you can see why autumn would still be my favorite season absent all my other reasons for loving it.

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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This appears…to be another incident of senseless police violence.
–  Joel Sansone

This week’s video is something extremely unusual: a brand-new official video for a song released in 1966.  It was provided by Matt Welch, and the links above it by Dan Savage and Franklin Harris; Cop Crisis (x3); Popehat; and Lucy Steigerwald, in that order.  I stumbled onto the last one myself while reading another item.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Annex 89

I know this looks pretty rough, so let me talk you through what you’re looking at.  This is the shower pan, the bottom layer of the shower; it’s made of mortar and will later have a layer of textured waterproof plastic (the same thing truck bedliner is made from) applied on top and up the walls.  So while the cosmetic appearance of the slab isn’t important because it will be coated, the contour is extremely important; the drain (which you can see covered in masking tape in the “before” picture) must be the lowest point and the areas near the walls the highest.  But I’ve never done masonry before, and once the process got underway on October 30th I began to realize that I just don’t have the technical skill to smooth the surface and also incline it at the necessary angle.  So we decided to do it in two stages: on the 30th I just concentrated on getting it level and smooth, then we came back on the 2nd and added another layer to give the desired pitch.  The darker concrete is 3 days younger, and I mixed it with less water so it would hold its shape more easily. It’s not a very thick layer; the original slab contains 9 (80#) sacks of mortar, while the upper layer contains only 3.  While I worked, I used a level to ensure that it sloped down from edges to center; the reason that one zone toward the right doesn’t have any extra is that I managed to get it right on the first pass.  I know it won’t win any awards for beauty, but it’s solid and properly-pitched, and it’ll all be covered up anyway.  Still, I’m glad this part of the job is over (the first part took 7 hours and the second part 4), and I have a new respect for the skill and patience it takes to work with concrete!

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Diary #646

When Yellowbird saw my diary of two weeks ago, mentioning that I couldn’t get a good picture of the diorama she had made me for my birthday, she let me know that she had taken some pictures herself; not only is she a much better photographer than I am, she also used Photoshop to give it a cool background.  I thought this was the best one to show you the outside, but the inside detail is pretty amazing too.  As of this writing, it’s still sitting on the dining table for people to look at, along with my other presents.  Usually I pick things up fairly soon after parties, but this year the summer malingered for so long that it didn’t feel like proper Halloween weather until a week before the big day.  So, I’m kind of procrastinating on moving on to Thanksgiving, though obviously I’ll have to stop doing that soon.  And the end of Daylight Mismanagement Time is helping; now the sun has already set before I start dinner, so it’s properly dark by the time I serve it.  And it really helps my brain to sit down to dinner with all the chores done and the animals fed, and without sunlight pouring into the windows as though it were mid-afternoon.  I have to mention one other present: when I arrived in Seattle on Sunday, my landlord handed me a package that had come in earlier in the week; it contained the CD of Vangelis’ Albedo 0.39, but no note as to the sender.  So if that was you, please tel me so I can thank you properly!

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[Can’t] we see [police] doing other things than showing up with a tank?  –  Jennifer Bacon

For the first time since July, I didn’t have a video either suggested by an obituary or in queue from previous weeks, so I went to YouTube and found this rather strange video from 1969.  The links above it were provided by Lucy Steigerwald, Cop Crisis (x3), Radley Balko, Stephen Lemons, and Emma Evans, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Diary #645

While I was having my recent phone problems, one of my gentlemen suggested I try one of these tiny but powerful thumb drives to transfer my pictures & other files from the old screen-busted phone to my new-new phone (as opposed to the shitty old-new phone).  See, I can still get the broken screen to work for maybe 30 seconds at a time if I mess with it; that was long enough to disable the screen lock, which made it easier for me to accomplish whatever I needed to do.  So last time I went to Seattle I bought one from a big box store; the one I got is 64 GB and cost about $15.  Then on Friday it rained cats and dogs all day, so it was the perfect day to sit down and try to recover my data.  First, I plugged the microdrive into my new phone so I could learn how to install the driver-app and learn how the backup process worked; once I learned that I was able to do the same with the broken phone, since it still keeps working even while I can’t see what’s going on.  Once I got the process going, I fiddled with the screen every few minutes to check progress, and when it was done I was able to move the files into the new phone.  So now I’ve not only got back all the pictures and files I was concerned about being unable to recover; I’ve also got a way to back up my phone on a regular basis without giving my data to some big tech company who’ll be happy to give it to any “authority” who demands it. And so far, it looks like it’s going to be just what I’ve needed for a long time.

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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It’s like a Swiss Army knife of excretory openings.  –  Jakob Vinther

Since I like to memorialize musicians with one of their songs, I try not to feature two musicians’ obits in the same column.  But since most of Jules Bass’s best lyrics were from the Christmas specials he and his partner Arthur Rankin are best remembered for, and it’s a bit too early for that, I gave this week’s video to Jerry Lee Lewis.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Walter Olson, Franklin Harris, Clarissa, Ally Fogg, and Aaron Ross Powell, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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