Sunday, April 29, 2018

Stop Blaming Women for the Evil Behavior of Men

The Daily Mail managed to out-despicable itself last weekend, running a story (link goes to a Tweeted screenshot, since I refuse to give that wretched article a single click) headlined "EXCLUSIVE: Ex-fiancee who broke suspected Golden State Killer's heart, and 'sparked his rape and murder' spree, is a travel blogger who went on to marry successful accountant and is now in hiding."

I wonder if she's in hiding because the Daily Mail printed her name, address and multiple photos suggesting SHE is responsible for HIS psychopathy?

After murderous misogynist Elliot Rodger killed six innocent people in Isla Vista a few years ago, the Daily Mail ran a similar story about a girl who did not return Rodger's interest -- when the two of them were in elementary school. And they included photos -- not of the ten-year-old Rodger mooned over back in the day, but of the sexy young twenty-something she grew up to be.

Y'know, I don't think I'm likely to snap and become a serial killer at this late date, but just in case, perhaps I should prepare a lengthy and semicoherent "rage manifesto" including an angry laundry list of all my schoolgirl crushes who refused to reciprocate my affections, so the Daily Mail will know which innocent people's lives to destroy after I'm arrested for my crimes. (Just kidding! I know better than to think the Daily Mail would blame a man for the evil actions of a woman, when they won't even blame a man for the evil actions of himself.)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ask An Atheist Day

Two things I just-now learned:

1. There is this thing called "Ask an Atheist Day."

2. It's today.

And I'm an atheist, last time I checked! So ask if you want; meanwhile, here's one question-and-answer combo to get y'all started:

Q. Is it true that making large cash donations into the PayPal accounts of redheaded atheists gives one a clearer complexion, improved muscle tone and increased sexual stamina?

A. I don't know, but if you wish to make the experiment I do have a PayPal account you can use.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Shakespeare's Bicycle

While going through a file of juvenilia I found this, part of an application for a writing gig. The question was "Describe a modern bicycle to an intelligent person from the 16th century." There is one error in the rhythm scheme -- when I wrote this I thought "antipodes" had three syllables rather than four -- but despite that error I got the job. (Unfortunately it did not last long, as the company folded soon after.)

Pray grant me, sir, a moment of thy time;
I’ll tell thee of a marvelous device
which giveth mortal Man a greater speed
than Mercury, clad in his wingéd shoes.
And thou, with far less effort than to walk,
might make use of this marvelous Machine
to travel all four corners of the World
far faster than the mighty storm winds blow.
Imagine now, two wheels of equal size,
like spokéd wheels of wagons, yet not like;
for thine two wheels doth not stand side by side,
but one behind the other, in a row.
The axles of these two wheels doth attach
unto a frame of metal, light and strong
and higher on this frame, there shalt thou find
a saddle, whereupon the Man might sit
and also there a bar which he can hold.
But more of these anon. Betwixt the wheels
lies one last, spinning thing found on this frame:
the axle of a Gear, as thee might find
inside the clock which keepeth time in Town;
a wheel with toothéd rim, art what I mean.
And on the axle of the Wheel in Back,
a second toothéd gear hath been affix’d.
And lo! A chain of forgéd iron links
pulled taut around the two gears’ antipodes,
enslaves the second gear unto the first
so that, whenever moveth this first Gear,
thus too must move the back wheel on the frame.
Yet this Gear, though master of the back one,
art but itself a slave unto the Man
who percheth on the saddle high above.
On each side of the Master gear, shalt find
a stirrup, where the Man may place his feet
to move the gear, the chain, and thus the wheel.
And as the back wheel turneth with the gears,
thine front wheel spins below the Gripping-Rod
by which the Man might turneth that Front wheel
as thou wouldst turn the rudder on thine boat.
This wheel’d machine art not a friend of Sloth;
when thy wheels move not forward, shalt they fall.
‘Tis balance, sir! Aye, balance—there’s the rub,
for those who lack it go not Forth, but Down.
And if thou findst not balance well at first,
get hence a child’s toy, to help thee learn:
two minute wheels, shalt flank the wheel in back,
until the Time of Training passeth by.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Collective Punishment: Here We Go Again

Brief update: the management at my apartment complex is once again making (almost certainly) illegal threats against its tenants. Today -- when I went outside to throw a bag of garbage in the dumpster, ironically enough -- I found a memo stuck to my door, and every other door in my building (which is one of several in this complex):

I am (at least for now) keeping the name of this apartment complex, and the odious semi-literate wretch who writes and sends these threats, to myself. But here is what the letter says, in case the photo is not clear (punctuation and other errors lifted verbatim):

Dear Resident(s),
Building #200
Effective immediately if there is any trash thrown out over the patios or even found on the backside of building 200. The entire building will be charged a fee until it stops or the office is notified on who is trashing the grounds here. Maintenance has taken the time to continuously clean that area and as of today is it completely clear. This is UNACCEPTABLE and UNSANITARY!!! You all will be held accountable in order to stop this immediately!!!
          Thank you,
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that, despite the poor construction of the paragraph, what is "Unacceptable and unsanitary" is the strewing of trash over the grounds, rather than the area now being completely clear.

Of course, I agree that whoever is dumping garbage on the ground rather than in the dumpster is irresponsible, but just as firmly disagree with the notion that since management has been unable to find the culprit, they can impose collective financial penalties on innocent people.

Without even bother to check the rental laws of unincorporated Decatur, South Dekalb County, Georgia. USA, I am fairly certain such collective financial punishment is thoroughly illegal. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my last post, the management here is clearly used to dealing with impoverished Section 8 recipient who lack the financial resources to defend their rights even if they know what they are. (Which in turn explains their unprofessional, belligerent behavior and why the property manager -- she of the inferior writing skills -- accused me of being "sarcastic" when I demanded an explanation. No, I wasn't being sarcastic; I was being uppity, behaving like the indignant middle-class woman that I am, rather than the terrified poverty-stricken woman she thought me to be.)

Are the fools actually going to try imposing fines on me? Will I soon be in the market for a Georgia-certified lawyer? Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Eviction Threat Ending: A Whimper, Not A Bang

The belligerent new management at my apartment complex has toned it down a few notches and laid off the worst of their bizarre bullying behaviors... or maybe they've simply moved those behaviors to where I can't see them. Meanwhile, I've learned a few things about the south-suburban Atlanta neighborhood where I've lived since mid-2016.

In my last couple posts I mentioned sundry bizarre and possibly illegal behaviors committed by the new management in my apartment complex, including a slanderous “illegal drug violation” notice on my door, followed by a verbal eviction threat when I went to the management office to ask about it.

For a week or so after that confrontation, their behavior grew steadily worse. The fake-cop “Warrant Service” security guard made evermore aggressive rounds with his fake drug dog which barked at anybody who walked past it, including me. One weekday evening around 7:30 (about half an hour after sunset, before Daylight Saving Time kicked in), Jeff and I tried driving out of our apartment complex to go to dinner, and the WS guy had parked his car so as to partially block the sole entrance/exit from the place. Accompanied by the aggressive dog, he was interrogating the driver of a car trying to pull into the complex from the public road. Jeff and I had to wait a couple of minutes before the fake cop let the other driver through, thus clearing the way for us to leave.

All this while their behavior absolutely baffled me: what kind of “professionals” were these, anyway? I hadn't encountered such an attitude since my schooldays, interacting with teachers of the “all kids are delinquents” variety.

Example: the day I was banned from the rental office, another mass memo went out to all tenants, starting with the line “Dear Resident(s), It has been brought to management that there are illegal pets in your home.” (Jeff and I don't have any pets, let alone “illegal” ones.) But as I kept reading the letter's language changed, and it was obvious this was NOT a personal letter directed at us, but a mass missive. Only instead of starting with the tone “Dear residents, this is a reminder that pets must be registered and blah blah blah,” they started it off like a personalized threat.

Reminder: when Jeff and I moved here in the summer of 2016, things were very rushed – we were living in the suburbs of D.C. when Jeff got a job offer down here. Neither of us had been to Atlanta before, and we had only two or three weeks to find a place to live and move into it before he started his new job. Meanwhile, the Atlanta metro housing market seemed bafflingly different from what we were used to in northern Virginia and New England before that, but eventually we found a place that was in our price range, in the size we needed, and would have a vacancy before Jeff had to start his then-new job.

When we filled out the application, it had a disclaimer at the top of the first page: something about how in order to live here you must have a minimum income at least three times the monthly rent. No problem; Jeff's salary alone is well over that, plus there's my (scandalously small, due to under-employment) income as well. I thought that was the case with all my neighbors: every family or tenant paying their way out of a salary at least three times the rent. Come to find out I was wrong: this apartment complex is what's called a “HUD property,” which apparently means only a relative handful of tenants (such as me and Jeff) are fool enough to pay the full market-rate rent. The majority get assistance from Section 8 vouchers.

I learned this from a reporter who works for a local TV news station, after the “curfew for minors” and other edicts inspired me to contact a couple of “News on Your Side” tip lines. She looked into a few things, spoke to people in the management office (off-camera but with her “journalist hat” on), and then told me what she'd learned about this property and its crime history—broadly, management has a lot of legal leeway to be horrible to tenants, for security-theater reasons (though “lots of legal leeway” is not synonymous with “carte blanche” — if we still had that false “drug violation” notice with its unjustified eviction threat, we could indeed cause serious and potentially expensive problems for the management here.)

And that no doubt explains much of the “like teachers who distrust their teenaged students” vibe I'd felt from the management, why they behaved like belligerent bullies rather than professionals talking to a paying client: because they're used to dealing with people so desperately poor they have no other options, people too poor to stick up for their rights even when they know what those rights are. Back in the day, teachers didn't need to care whether their students liked them, because they knew their students had no choice – and apparently, landlords for Section 8 renters can afford to adopt a similar attitude toward most of their tenants, if they (or their hired property managers) are mean-spirited enough to do so.   

THAT explains the property manager's incredulous fury when I questioned their bad behavior, and why she accused me of being “sarcastic” for doing so — no, she didn't mean sarcastic. She was mad because I was uppity: behaving like the indignant middle-class person I am rather than the terrified, impoverished woman she thought I must be, for living here. 

The good news is, the visit from the TV reporter seems to have scared some semblance of decent behavior into the management: no more appearances of the fake drug dog, and no more bogus checkpoints clogging traffic in or out of the parking lot. Of course the management now knows better than to give us another illegal threat in writing (just as we'd now know better than to let them take it back) – but I don't know if they're still pulling such stunts on the other tenants in this complex.

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