Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Portable Weirdness At Central NC Pagan Pride Day Sept 19-20 2015


I'm wearing flannel jommer pants and packing for CNC PPD, so it must officially be autumn  ;0)

Portable Weirdness will be at Central North Carolina Pagan Pride Day on September 19th & 20th at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh with the usual suspects and array of Questionable Decor, Possible Art, and Primitive Bling. It's a weekend "family reunion" for a bunch of the regional PHA community and a opportunity for the non-pagan public to observe and ask questions about who we are and what we get up to instead of relying on sensationalist religious propaganda or Hollywood nonsense. And a chance to jam on some great music, get in on some cool workshops, and score some seriously excellent art work, hand crafts, and other fun stuff.

One of the main goals of the Pagan Pride Project is fostering understanding and community. Given that sometimes people who are outside the more mainstream religions and belief systems can feel like we don't belong in our local civil communities, nobody is an island. In observance of fall harvest and to show gratitude if you're fed, admission to the festival is a non-perishable food item(s), which will be collected by the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC.

You can also get in some community involvement with the pet adoption drive hosted by the Wake County Animal Center and the educational presentations from the American Wildlife Refuge and Midgard Serpent Rescue. In case you haven't figured out, a lot of us are kinda big on animal welfare. The Red Cross Bloodmobile will also be there on Sunday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, and you can pre-register here.

See ya there!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Female Genital Mutilation - Tradition, Ignorance, & Cowardice Are No Excuse

Go Nigeria!  (salutes)

Changing the law is awesome (lights fireworks) and may be the leverage needed for the really big challenge: changing the social rules and attitudes behind Female Genital Mutilation.

That means finding ways for girls who get ostracized from their families or communities because they haven't been cut to move on and have productive lives.

That means finding ways to inform people that being faithful to Islam or Christianity does NOT mean the practice is mandatory in locales where illiteracy is an obstacle.


That means supporting men that want FGM to stop and who marry women that haven't been cut, and protecting their children from social sanctions

Click To Enlarge For Text

It means people in Western countries that think it's not a problem they should give a rat's posterior about need to get a clue. Look up "vacation cutting".

It means challenging the idea that because something is traditional to some part of a culture, calling for change is automatically bigotry and ethnocentrism. I could commit a major act of cliche here and invoke practices like bleeding sick people, foot binding, infant exposure, slavery, and a host of other things, and actually, I just did.

It means that if you're going "eeeeewwwww, nobody wants hear about that, it's gross!" or "you're such a downer for throwing this in my face" or "you're making me feel icky and that's bad", you should try being one of the women that has to endure it.  Or one of the ones that didn't live to.

The only reason she's not you or your daughter or your sister or your mother is a chance of geography, people

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Samuel DuBose & Police Apologetics

Are we having deja vu yet? At least authorities indicted Tensing instead of outright dismissing the whole sorry mess and pulling a rug over it. I'm liking body cameras thus far.

From the Cincinnati.com article:

"Samuel DuBose's last words were "I didn't even do nothing."
A video from University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing's body camera of DuBose's fatal shooting reviewed by The Enquirer indicates DuBose was shot to death by Tensing following a calm exchange during a Mount Auburn traffic stop July 19.
There is no violence or physical altercation shown, and DuBose does not appear to be belligerent or aggressive toward the officer. DuBose turns his ignition key, starting the car, but the vehicle appears to move only after the shot is fired. That's significant, because Tensing told authorities he'd been dragged by the vehicle."

Okay, let's hear it - what nonsensical rationale is the apologist crowd going to toss off on this one to excuse not only Tensing's unwarranted escalation, but he and his fellow officer blatantly lying about what happened?

Was DuBose dangerously out of control? Was he a criminal threat to society?

Oh, wait, I got it: he asked for it. He must be one of those bad people that deserved it. He probably  "didn't behave properly" like Sandra Bland, right? Or he "acted in a suspicious manner", like Jonathan Ferrell, right?  Or he was "out of place", like Alex Horton, right? Or he "gave him a dehumanizing stare", like Tremaine McMillan, that must surely be the answer.

Because simply EH-verybody knows that pretending to be a Homo sapiens around the wrong kind of  law enforcement officer is aggressive, threatening behavior and can't be tolerated.

I got news for all the (alleged) people that wanna spew that crap. You can buy into whatever

 justification you want because you think "I'm a law-abiding citizen and this will never happen to me or anyone I know". You're wrong. It doesn't matter what you actually do, all that matters to a bully cop (as opposed to a real police officer) is that (s)he decided you looked wrong.  And you likely do know people who've been on the receiving end of a bully cop for no legitimate reason; if nothing else, you know me. 

I've met cops that told me I "looked suspicious" or "behaved aggressively" for the following:
  • living in an older shabby-but-clean neighborhood where most of the residents are elderly white and black people who've lived there for decades and Latino families with small kids and jobs
  • having a 2003 car with body damage and NPR and "Coexist" bumper stickers
  • being an a public place looking like a "homeless person" (I went out in the middle of a bathroom remodel in old clothes with caulk and paint on them)
  • being female and not crying or showing fearful body language during an
     attack by an armed drunk
  • having a pitbull
  • reading a book in public
  • stating that I did not hear an officer knocking on the front door because I was in the back yard mowing grass
  • driving home from work at 2 am 
  • "talking uppity" (using words someone like me isn't supposed to know)
My experiences can't compare with what the aforementioned people or hundreds like them have had, but if a dumpy white jeans and t-shirt wearing 40-something nerd is on police radar as a "no good", you might oughta rethink that "Us vs Them" pedestal you're  precariously balanced on.   

Officer Smith assisting a white supremacist with heat sickness in the line of duty
Suggestion: quit dividing people by fighting over whether unreasonable police violence is more a case of racism, sexism, ethnicism, homophobia, or any other specialized species of bigotry. People  can be bigots and still leave that at the door to do their jobs because law enforcement is about  enforcing laws, not opinions, as SC police officer Leroy Smith pointed out. The escalation of police violence does have some relationships with the escalation in criminal resources and range of operations, but that can't be held up as a cover-all excuse for every time someone with a badge loses his shit or gets his bully on.

This is about people who should probably have never been allowed to become police officers being police officers for the wrong reasons, and officers being told that if they don't cover up for them, they're traitors and "no goods" themselves. This is about Sane Vs. Crazy.

By the way, Officer Smith's Beer & Cookies are on the way (salutes)

They're at risk of becoming an endangered species, and they need our help

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Maryland Faerie Festival & Free Spirit Gathering

June is Maryland Or Bust month for Portable Weirdness!

We're doing a tag team double header with Maryland Faerie Festival June 13th & 14th and Free Spirit Gathering June 16th thru the 21st. Both events are at Camp Ramblewood (which is frackking gorgeous) in Darlington MD, and both are a load of great people, great music, great art and crafts, great cosplaying, and damn near great everything. This is FSG's 30 year anniversary, so they get extra cool points for the long run.

If you're going, see ya there. If not, sucks to be you  ;0)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Purgatory 62: St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Are you too intelligent, savvy, or tasteful to waste your Valentine's Day on some Hipster BDSM wannabe movie? Come dressed in your 1920's Gangster Best and hang out with the real deal at Purgatory's St. Valentine's Day Massacre!

Portable Weirdness and The Satyr will be vending at Single Cell Productions' Purgatory #62, February 14th at Amos' Southend in Charlotte, NC. The show starts at 8 pm and runs till 2 am, with performance art, killer DJs, interactive fetish entertainers, costume design and fashion statements, a VIP Dungeon, and cool shopping opportunities.

I'll have the usual suspects; jewelry, Dreds and hair accessories, pendulums, wands, fossils, rocks, and crystals, the House Gourdians, random oddness, and a motley crew of Dead Guys. Will also have books by Miles Batty, who will be duct taped to a convenient rafter for questions, signing, and flogger quality control testing.

Your Right To Swing Your Fist Stops Where My Face Begins

100% of your daily amount of intelligent hyperbolic satire

THIS. Imma run off a good handful of copies and just start handing them off to every Entitlement Brat or Asshole Apologist I run into.

I don't care which species of the above it is, a rabid anti-vaxer, a rabid anti-any-gun-controller, a rabid pro-coal-roller, a rabid anti-regulationist, or whatever. Not one of them has been able to sufficiently explain to me, in any fashion that employs mappable reason, why their freedom to do __________ should override my freedom to not have to deal with the fallout or damage their activities will inflict on my life. Without my having agreed to accept any such consequences of their actions. Or frequently any acknowledgement of responsibility for said consequences on their part.

I hear people justifying this line of (alleged) thinking with stuff like "I have the means to pay to fix anything that goes wrong for me, and if you don't, that's your fault". Or "I'd rather have to accept whatever happens than have to curtail my freedom like a coward".

Okay, let's look at that scenario for a minute. Let's toss any ideas of altruism, justice, resource sustainability, cooperation, compassion, civility, etc. in a handy broom closet for the moment, and say you can have absolute freedom to do exactly as you wish, without having to take into account how your actions may impact anyone or anything else.

What's your plan for when someone else comes along and says "I have a right to do __________, and you better shut up and let me", and they happen to be bigger than you? Because no matter how independent, tough, or "blessed" you think you are, there's always going to be someone who can outdo you. Do you really, really, REALLY want to live in that world? A large portion of human civilization has at various points, and it's sucked excessively. Even for the badasses at the top, once someone else decided they wanted that spot.

I do hear a handful of people talking about supposedly returning to the shiny, golden, photoshopped Good Ol' Days when Men Were Free & Everyone Pulled Their Own Weight & Minded Their Own Business. And everyone was happier. Except the people who lived by total independence usually died off because of obstacles and problems too big for one or two people to handle alone. And the people living in small groups usually only had as much freedom as the group power holder or the existing social order allowed them.

The whole process of civilization is about people making agreements to cooperate with each other as larger groups, with a wider range of skills and resources, and make compromises on some things. Because even if you're a hard worker and highly self-sufficient, sooner or later you're going to need help with something. There's a reasonable middle ground to be had between a Nanny State and Extremist Me-ism. But we have to work Compromise & Cooperation like pros to get to it.

If you really insist on not having anything like those agreements, then to avoid doing the same taking away of choices to other people that you say is being done to you, get thee to a walled, self-sufficient living arrangement where you don't have to interact with anyone else. Or more importantly, we don't have to interact with your choices.

Also, just because:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Friendship Nine - Sane Team Win

McCrory's Protest, Downtown Rock Hill, SC 1961
After fifty-four years of Civil Rights efforts and slow change, the remaining members of the Friendship Nine saw a judge throw out their 1961 convictions for a protest at a Rock Hill lunch counter. The peaceful protest, which altogether included thirteen men and five women, some of whom were students at Friendship College, started with a picket line outside and a sit-in inside at McCrory's, where black people weren't allowed service.

Beginning Of "Jail, No Bail"
They were the first to use the "Jail, No Bail" strategy during the 1960's Civil Rights movement period, and they created a "follow the money" moment that set the bar for the movement. Instead of the city profiting off the people it arrested in peaceful protests, the jail time for the Nine actually cost it money.

Municipalities started getting the hint that maybe going along with racism wasn't lucrative after all. How often that meant that the people who really didn't want segregation were glad to have the money angle to argue their positions, or that the people who did or were apathetic just went for the least expensive option is largely an unanswerable question by now. And I don't think it matters at this point. What does matter is that it gave Civil Rights activists a new place to work from.
I found it especially cool that Judge John C. Hayes III, the official who had the pleasure of roundfiling the convictions, is the nephew of the judge that originally ruled on the case. Also high five worthy was the photo shoot they did at the Five & Dime Restaurant, which stands on the site of the old McCrory's. Some of the Nine have been regular customers there for a long time now, but I figure it was still good to walk in that door for the first time after the official exoneration and truly bury the place that once was in favor of the place that is now.

Time Warp Bit . . .

 . . . McCrory's is gone; they're still here

In the audio report in the above link, Nine member Clarence Graham states

"Fifty-four years later, we're proving you can be successful with nonviolence - nonviolence. Even though we were treated unjustly, still, nonviolence prevailed, and to the day that's our message to young people."

Change has happened, and will keep happening. The Sane People Team just has to keep the ball rolling forward, and remember that we don't have to be the ones to escalate, or need to have a particular team color.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Je Suis Egalement Nigeria

Meanwhile, a little farther south on the map . . .

We got Boko Haram still beating the crap out of Nigeria months after it started kidnapping schoolgirls into forced conversions and marriages, and suicide bombing gigs, apparently competing with Christian extremists in Central African Republic for the Supreme World  Bastards title.

Why isn't Africa getting the same level of response that Paris has? Maybe it's because Nigeria's own governement appears to be unable or unwilling to deal, or to admit that they can't deal, and people don't know how to respond to that. Maybe it's because there's been so much conflict of various kinds in Africa over the last several years, people have sort of become numb to it. Maybe because it seems removed from  more developed nations by sheer geography and fewer relationships. Maybe it's because there's Big Oil involved and the people with their fingers in that pie are more focused on politics than humanity. Maybe a bit because unless it counts as juicy gossip, people tend to ignore what they think doesn't affect them, also sometimes packaged as "minin' my own binness".

Either way, it IS our business. Even if all we can do individually is repudiate it and push for action by those with more resources and means. Neimöller