Space Sheroes!

So I wrote a post a few months ago about how living in Houston opened my eyes to the banally evil culture of NASA and how unsettling it is to live in a city built explicitly on a war n’ oil/ military industrial economies. I stand by it, but I had the opportunity to indulge in some family entertainment out in Clear Lake City today, and it’s softened my heart a little to the dream of space science. Moreover, I was able to get beyond the cringeworthy Methodist mom look Lisa Nowak sported, and realize what it means for women to be part of the space program, and the underestimated genius of astronaut style.

Obviously, we have Dr. Sally Ride. First American woman in space, and hot stuff!

Judith Resnik (who sadly died in the Challenger), was quoted as saying “It doesn’t take an unfeminine woman to be an astronaut, or a hypermasculine unfeeling man… It’s about people in space!” What do they say about women named Judy all being feminists?

Mae Jemison, first African American woman in space, also very chic. She also guest-starred on ST:TNG.

Anna Tingle Fisher took a six-year leave of absence from NASA to raise her kids. Yay for NASA and family flexibility.

More recent women astronauts include Joan Higginbotham, a proud Delta who brought a DST founder’s banner on board the shuttle.

So this fall, timeless Space Woman style! Hair has to be neat (think zero gravity!) – bobs, shags. Bomber jackets, polo shirts, patches, aviator glasses, long underwear. Lots of powder blue, navy, olive green and orange!


carrying the torch

The silver lining of spending several days in Oklahoma City was the Women’s fucking College World Series being held within miles. On at the bar on every tv, with fans and associated individuals (which consist of two major subgroups: middle aged middle american lesbians and dads n’ daughters. Pretty much everything I ask for in anonymous group dynamics watching) in the midst everywhere.

Baseball to me is boring and outdated, and this is something that alienates me from both medium-sensitive academic dudes and my latin american heritage. But women’s softball is girls getting educations and competing fiercely for something else other than male attention (ie punk) or good girl hoop jumping shit (ie school, working at a nonprofit), and in the end, attracting an audience and cultivating egos. And seriously: satin uniforms, french braids, sequined headbands and eye black.

At that first Homo a Go Go, they screened Times Square. The next night, everyone was wearing eye black, and six months later…

But clearly, while we were spreading scabies and longing for a real reunion of The Need, some of our sisters said “carpe diem” to Title IX and then TOOK IT UP A NOTCH.


Which makes me a little queasy at the thought that some of the most thriving directions of feminism in my own teen/adult years were those that were slightly removed from the most common of experiences in most women’s lives. In my classes, in our circles, we talked a lot about sex workers, and the intersexed, and genderqueer, even though most of us were biologically and socially identified as women, who were not and never were sex workers, who were either taking out student loans or living off parents or living in murkily imposed poverty with not so much thought about the future. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have talked about this stuff so much, even though so few of those in the discussion were actually faced with a practical reality of what we were talking about. Such is youth, I guess.

And I’m not saying that it’s irrelevant to examine your own complicity, however remote, in others’ oppression. Or that the new feminist guarde should have held itself back. But I can’t help but wonder if all this hot button issue talk was at the expense of furthering the real and practical goals that second wavers broke so much ground for us to have. Maybe as young women, going to college, being in bands, going on tour and going to dance parties and generally getting the opportunity to be in charge of our own lives so much more than any other group of women in history, we should have talked more about some commonalities of experience: work, financial indpendence, building community and being able to really make your own decisions. Maybe we should start now and be a little more aware of our own complicity in our adult lives.


tornado alley

Dudes, I am in Oklahoma, and am going on 48 hours of doing so. This is where I spent 8 or so months of  miserable late teen life, a place that should be so much like Texas but is unmistakably not. Not like the South, not like the West, not like anywhere but sprawling, smelly, broken down, like everywhere.

In Davis, which is as much a Niagra Falls of Oklahoma, we went to the drive-thru wilderness park, the place that has commercials on Dallas tv, where in fact you can feed giraffes and zebras out of your car. We ate at the diner with an overweight grown woman waiting tables in CHEER butt shorts, a probably teen dude in a back brace talking to whomever about painkillers and unemployment.

When I went to school and lived in Norman I got drunk and lived in a dorm, and at the time everyone seemed so much older, so permanent in their college-age college town lives.  I saw one of the old-er guys on the street today, wearing a purple t-shirt and a guatemalan vest, balding, but looking the same.

The purpose for all this is a corny regional organization’s corny conference in Oklahoma City, seemingly always in shitty cities. (Like consciously enjoyable cities abound in this part of the country.) Conference hotel is huge rotting structure by the airport, and our room in back had stained carpet in the outdoor breezeway and a feral, crucifix-bearing toddler and an unattended bbq grill ad-hoc installed in the parking lot. I felt justafiably prissy for pulling out, and am anticipating the squawking complaints of the following days.

While I was heading out, I caught the door for a woman coming to the conference, who lives and works in the same city as me. I’ve met her half a dozen times, at least. I said hello and got no reply. She was dressed in sweatpants.

springtime in texas


Houston’s got these civic styles of commodifying art, experience- based art, beyond recognition, thus separating art as expensive product from the un-commodity of joyful everyday life as a rhetorical exercise on par with highway building and ruthless emminent domain as a way to isolate and insulate the poor. I object!

But listen to these poems written and read by 5th Ward senior ladies about romantic love, natural disasters,
houseplants and cast iron skillets, via a grasping-at-prestige nonprofit via public radio (sponsored by the war n’ oil giants of industry). Seriously touching, although still slightly disconcerting in their delivery.

on mixed marriage

Zaki Chehab, on the survival of Hamas on Democracy Now:

You know, when someone want to get married, he would ask his fiancée if she’s going to be loyal to him, faithful, not going out, respectful, all sorts of things, and she would ask him if he snores and, you know, make certain conditions, because she will say, “Yes, I will marry you,” or he will say, “I will marry,” you know, “you, as well.” So Israel would jump straight and ask for marriage straightaway.

On tonight’s Independent Lens Jehovah’s Witness doc, KNOCKING:

It was always my dream to marry an older Jewish man who smoked a pipe, but who stopped smoking a pipe when he became a Jehovah’s Witness. But I guess he could still be older. 



R.I.P.  I wonder sometimes why on earth I would ever read Nancy Mitford, or why I should even be willingly aware of  rich people. This is why- every once in a while one of them makes use of herself for the better.

shut up, mom! (re: unopened pinot grigio, “suggestive” dancing)


It’s the end of the semester, y’know, and I haven’t checked in, but it’s urgent that I tell you that I know what you are up to! You are, through sloppy alchemy,  combining two genres of pop music: the woeful casual sex wail of top 40 hits of the 1970s,  and the jams about strippers of the 2000s that only make sense when you dance to them at Chances.  It’s okay with me, but you are a cheeseball. This “Ima take you home with MEEEE!” is nothing else but “OH WHAT A NIIIGHT!”

And also, I like how you allude to your basic Gene Hackman fandom with “I luv The Conversation” Who fucking doesn’t? I took a page from Anthony Lane this week and immediately watched Baby Face, I think you’d like it.