Redheads Not Going ExtInct, I’m Guiltfree About Being #Childfree


My dad was redheaded, so was his brother and (I think) his father. His mom had dark hair but there was some redheadedness on her side. My mom had auburn hair and heard a few family jokes about being the red-headed stepchild (the trait was lurking on both sides). My redheadedness genes die with me as I never felt the least stirrings of parenthood, but now I feel less genetic guilt about not passing along my recessive genes. Yay!

As a redheaded science journalist, I hear this “fact” a lot. Reality is, though, we arent going anywhere. Yes, as Cara Santa Maria points out at Huffington Post, redheads represent only about 1% of the worlds population. And this hair color is related to a recessive gene. Both your parents have to have a copy in order for you to be a redhead, so a redheaded person can have non-redheaded babies. But thats not the same thing as going extinct. Because heres our little secret: We redheads are stealthily infiltrating the rest of humanity. Only 1% of humans are redheads, but 4% of humans carry a copy of the gene that makes redheads. You could be a carrier and not even know it. So could your spouse. Two redheads are unlikely to make a brunette, but two brunettes can make a redhead. Good luck wiping us out. Insert evil laughter here

via For the last time, redheads are not going extinct – Boing Boing

Sorry, Boos and Ghouls, No Candy. Really.

With Halloween on a Sunday this year, I’m home during the beginning of prime time “trick or treat” visitors.

As it’s still broad daylight outside, leaving the porchlight off isn’t really a visible sign that “we’re not at home, no candy here.” So I barricaded the front porch with 2 plastic chairs, and on the walkway leading up to the porch, one plastic chair tightly wedged between the lilac bushes, and another chair in front of that at the beginning of the walkway from the driveway. I just didn’t want to hear the doorbell all afternoon and evening, and also didn’t want them wasting their time coming up to the front door.

So far, 2 groups of the little darlings have pushed their way past the chairs (I can hear the scraping and their high-pitched little voices), but they figure it out at the door and don’t ring the doorbell. Still, we’ve got the indoor lights off, the curtains drawn… how much more of a hint do you need, kids?

Since they were being so… persistent, I went back out, turned the chairs back-to-front so they didn’t appear so inexplicably inviting, and made my barricades a little more secure. If they’re breached, I’ll have to go back out with a mop handle to jam between the chairs and the bushes, and maybe some other random crap from the garage.

A co-worker is proud of the fact that her neighborhood is the kind where kids are brought in by the mini-vanfull in order to get the most candy loot; she proudly mentioned that she has to buy bags and bags and bags of candy, because she gets hundreds of trick-or-treaters. That could be fun, and if I were a real nine-year-old (instead of one only in my head) I’d be heading for her neighborhood tonight too.

Actually, Elk Grove Village residents seem to really be into decorating for the Halloween boos and ghouls – I keep spotting houses that my inner nine-year-old recognizes as prime candy-bagging spots. My own suburb is kind of lame in the way of decorations – maybe because we don’t have the majestic trees (yet) that EGV boasts. It’s just not spooky enough here without big trees, maybe.

Still, it doesn’t stop the candy zombies from trying to break down my barricades. Maybe I’d better get out the supersoakers and start hollering “Say hello to mah leetle friend!”

Backwash From Bailin’

@AKMudflats, it’s a beautiful day on the Internets when attorneys threaten bloggers and radio hosts with defamation, for freedom. Let’s all get our boots on, it’s gonna get spooty.

AKMuckraker: Huffington Post Blogger in Palin’s Cross Hairs

Using the substantial might of the Executive branch of government to bring down unenforceable legal threats on a private citizen in Alaska, and attempting to curtail free speech through intimidation on the Fourth of July? Not a particularly brilliant PR move. By specifically singling out and naming Moore, Palin has done two things; she has shown herself to be a reactionary immature politician, and she has made Shannyn Moore a lot better known. And she is not the only one in Sarah Palin’s crosshairs, mind you. You stand warned Huffington Post, New York Times, MSNBC and The Washington Post! You just better knock it off!

Back during the election, Palin was told in no uncertain terms not to make waves and bring extra media attention to something that the McCain campaign considered a distraction. She never really learned that lesson, as Friday’s hastily convened press conference and surprise resignation created a massive story on what should have been one of the slower “hard news” days of the year.

Now she’s threatening to sue the Internets for spreading baseless allegations, via her Twitter account. Bring it on, we all say.

So now the FBI is they don’t have her under investigation, which was one of the “Iceberg” rumors that’s been floating around Alaska news circles since at least August. The real reason must be something else, then, right?

Snark aside, rumors aside, there are a lot of reasons why Palin might realistically come to a conclusion that the best thing to do would be to resign, and they would all have to do with family matters. Given what we’ve seen of her public reactions to the unflattering articles, jokes, and satirical japes aimed at her and her family, can you imagine what her private reactions are like? What’s it like to live in constant uproar for a family with 5 kids, 6 counting Bristol’s baby? How is Trig doing, and is he getting the extra attention he needs at this stage? How are the early intervention programs in Alaska? Frankly, any other woman in Sarah’s position would be thinking about quitting her job to stay home and focus on the two babies in her family, and her oldest daughter needs her help, too.

Remember, every single negative story must get discussed, endlessly, around the Wasilla house by Sarah and her husband Todd. The older kids must get a sense of the turmoil, and it has to be incredibly stressful for everyone, especially the flap over Letterman’s poorly framed joke that was supposed to be at Bristol’s expense. Of course, anyone would want that to stop immediately, shield their kids from those “slings and arrows,” and get back to some semblance of normal family life.

I do sympathize. I just don’t have very much respect for her motives, and I really question her timing.

The fact that she’s always had a flair for self-dramatization does not help Palin in her public life, and it sure couldn’t help her in private.

Nobody would have blamed her if she had quietly resigned back when she realized she was pregnant with Trig, long before the nomination was announced. The state of Alaska would have been satisfied with the “I need to step away from the public view and concentrate on my family, who need their mom now more than ever.” Nobody would have dared criticise that statement, because it would have been true. She would have gotten a ton of sympathy and offers of support when she revealed Trig’s Down Syndrome, and she could have gone on to be a fine advocate for disabled children and their parents.

Later, when Bristol’s pregancy was no longer possible to conceal, the matter would have raised eyebrows and mild interest in Alaska, but nowhere else. My childfree compatriots and I would have snickered endlessly about how she and her daughter “Oopsed her” out of office, but no-one else would have paid much attention.

Instead, imagine the shitstorm we’d be in if McCain had been elected. Would Palin still have resigned, if she were getting even MORE of this kind of “extra media attention?” By this time, she would have gotten the younger kids started in school with plenty of breathless reportage on FOX News, there would have been endless stories about finding the right kind of Washington-area church, and don’t believe for a second there wouldn’t have been plenty more material for late-night comics. Also, Cindy McCain would have plenty of chances to be photographed petting Trig, to help soften her image.

Just think about that: would Sarah Palin still have resigned if she were Vice President, living in Washington above Cheney’s secret underground lair?

Crooks and Liars | Stay Classy, Oregon GOP

I ran across this earlier at Crooks and Liars and was thinking over some of the head-‘splody statements in it, wondering why it is that the Right, or the people that write their copy, are so open to using such transparently obvious crap in order to get ‘er done.

For one thing, there’s either an egregious lie buried in it, or a really dumb mistake. Factcheck much?

Here’s the first one called ” Thank You”

Thank you for ending slavery.

Thank you for giving women the right to vote.

Thank you for opening our State beaches to the public.

Thank you for lowering our taxes.

Thank you for helping me start my own business.

Thank you for passing the Civil Rights act of 1964.

Thank you for making America the land of opportunity.

FEMALE VO: There are so many things we have to be thankful for, thanks to the Republican Party.



It’s quite true that the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln’s era was The Party Of No of its time: they were the abolitionist party that wanted to stop slavery. At that time, the Democrats in the South were pro-slavery, and the northern Democrats were weak bastids who kowtowed to the rich landowners from Dixie.

But who, in God’s name, would dare use the word “mulatto?” It’s much classier to say “quadroon” or “high yella,” morans. I can’t imagine why it’s used here, unless it’s supposed to be a funny little Easter egg for them to snicker over as they audition people of color and say “thank you” until they find somebody the right shade of mochacchino.

Good God.

Anyway, what really made me prick up my ears (tweeeeeet!!) was that statement thanking the GOP for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because that Act was proposed by President John F. Kennedy before his assassination, and it was signed into law by his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was held up for a while by a filibuster of conservative Democrats in the Senate, but it had general bi-partisan support except for the near-complete opposition by Representatives and Senators from the 11 Southern states that had attempted to secede at the time of the Civil War. Its strongest supporters were Northerners, Democrats and Republicans. But it was a Congress controlled by the Democrats, although the party was split along the old Mason-Dixon line, and the bill had to be guided carefully through committees chaired by Southerners.

Perhaps the scriptwriter meant the relatively weak (and unenforceable) Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was proposed and passed by Republicans? You’d think the judge would know that. Or maybe they meant the Fourteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery? That was certainly a Republican initiative, but the party was very different in 1865.

After the 1964 Civil Rights act passed, a whole bunch of Southern Democrats became Dixiecrats for a while, and then they either retired, died off like the dinosaurs they were, or they became, wait for it, Republicans. He led the charge. Around then, a lot of African-Americans apparently switched parties, too, when they realized that the party of Lincoln was becoming the party of Strom Thurmond, who also went over to the Republicans and notoriety.

And even today, there’s this tension during the election years; Democrats want everybody to be able to vote, and they generally try to make it easy and hassle-free (we’ve moved beyond “vote early, vote often” even here in Blago-tainted Illinois). Yet Republicans automatically assume voter fraud beyond the Pale Suburbs, screaming “ACORN!!,” pulling tricks like “vote caging” and demanding identification of registered voters when it’s not required. Because they simply can’t believe that all these “mulattos” could possibly be real Americans, let alone properly registered voters who know enough to only vote once… for the Republican on the ballot. And I suspect they simply cannot believe that they lost the most recent election, because “fair and square” does not exist in their lexicon, only “fair and balanced.”

Dog-whistle concepts. Code words. Slurs casually thrown down where they might not be noticed. Don’t they realize the smart people are onto them? It seems a hefty chunk of the famous “Republican Base” is very base indeed, if they’re to find this PSA at all appealing.

There was a lot of crap that went down before women won the right to vote, as it got all mixed up with the general civil rights movement around the time of the Civil War, and sometimes there were ugly tensions. But eventually, it was President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, who made a last-ditch speech urging passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, after it had been narrowly defeated a few times. Based on the ratification dates by state on that last link, the South (and probably the Southern Democrats) opposed it. So it was another bi-partisan victory, and another triumph over the elements of the old Confederacy by the forces of progress, in both parties.

At least there don’t seem to be any coded “we’re taking our ball and going home if Obama doesn’t just go away” secession messages in this PSA. Yesterday’s orgy of teabagging left a bad taste in my mouth (and yet I still can’t resist the cheap shot, because my inner twelve-year-old compels me).

My final comment is on that last image: that’s another sekrit messij to one of the other major components of the modern Republican “base,” the pro-life/traditional family values people. They can’t go all religious and devout, so to give a spiritual vibe and wrap up the piece, they just fade to white before disappearing. Because, thank you, Republican Party! With your kind assistance, women can has babies whether they wants them or not! The South shall rise again, because they lead the nation in teen pregnancy, due to that GOP base favorite, abstinence-only sexual education.

It’ll be interesting what else the Oregon GOP is looking to put on the air on their other ads – this is just one of several proposed public service announcements. I assume they’re all just as classy as this one.

And by the way, Oregon GOP, NO THANKS TO YOU for meddling with the civil rights of gay people. I had a lot of friends in the Eugene LGBT community years ago (well, okay, mostly just the L community, via a roommate). I hope you lose (again) in the next election. Morans.

National Annoy Your Co-Workers With Your Offspring Day

It’s the most underwhelming office holiday of the year: it started out being a feminist holiday to encourage daughters to dream of careers. Now it’s devolved into an excuse to bring your kid to work instead of dropping him/her off at school or daycare. Most years, the kids are kept busy with activities. Some years, the designated wranglers drop the ball and the l’il dollinks wander around on their own or in packs. This year seems to be in the latter vein – a couple of boys have been mooching around on the work floor looking bored and have had to be herded back to where they’re supposed to be. But this one kid keeps evading the sweep, even though he’s been challenged by a couple of people with a friendly “Are you lost?” or “Can I take you back to the activity room?” At least he doesn’t seem to be playing on the elevator as happened in a previous year.

And here comes that kid again, for the fourth or fifth time or sixth time. I’m going to lunch.

UPDATE:Back. While at lunch, I stopped at the jewelry fair set up in the atrium – I’ve bought stuff there before – but they may have lost a sale. While browsing, the lady brightened when she saw me and cried out “Madam! I believe I saw your daughter!” Yep, all us red-heads are assumed to be related. “Oh, she was not your daughter? Do you have a daughter?”


“I don’t have children.” I smiled and turned away. Not shopping today.

As I came back to my desk, the entire herd was gathered at my desk. Horrors! But it appears I just missed the tour, as they moved on without trampling my desk or getting cooties on my stuff.

By the way, I’ve really enjoying the last couple of days at work. I checked with my TL, and it’s okay to listen to music on headphones while waiting for a call – it’s such a blessing to be able to mechanically tune out all the rowl-de-dowl around me. I do love my iPhone/iPod.

Amphibian eats mother’s skin – Boing Boing

Amphibian eats mother’s skin – Boing Boing

Here’s an appetizing video of baby caecilians, a mysterious subterranean order of amphibians, peeling and eating the skin off their mother’s tail.

Mmmm, yummy, Mummy! If we hadn’t been mammals, but some sort of insectoid, we’d call this “skin-feeding” or “tail-feeding.” I bet some skiffy author will end up creating an intelligent race that does just this. Suckling, or nibbling, it’s still kinda gross.

Sometimes, The Blogfodder Begs To Be Posted

Salt Lake Tribune – Tot from large family left behind in morning rush

A 2-year-old girl from a family of about 15 children was misplaced Monday morning before a Salt Lake County deputy found her crying and alone in the family’s backyard.
The mother of the little girl had apparently assumed her older children had put the toddler in the family van earlier that morning. The mother then dropped off her other children at her sister’s home on her way to work, Lt. Paul Jaroscak said.
About 9 a.m. neighbors in an area near 8500 South and 1500 East heard a child screaming and crying and called police. Neighbors said the girl had been wailing for about an hour, Jaroscak said.

It’s just… too easy.  [Insert infuriatingly smug comment about “breeders” here.]

Beach Backsplash Inevitable

Adults draw line in the sand in Lake Forest | Chicago Tribune

“It didn’t use to be respectable to speak out in public in ways that were anti-child or anti-family, but now that sort of talk is very acceptable,” Beck said.

Right, right. And in the same article, the backlash is already building. And even in the relatively positive statement above, wanting a kid-free zone is equated with being anti-child. It’s really more about wanting a quiet zone free of disturbance, but that’s not how it will be framed in the discussions to come. And all too soon, the “child-free” section of lakefront beach will be opened back up to screaming toddlers and raucous teens.

Quiver Full of Bull

Salt Lake Tribune – Full quivers don’t pay

The opinion by David M. Pearson (Forum, June 9, “Subsidizing children”) is the most illogical and self-serving analysis I’ve seen in a long time.

He wrote that he is helping to subsidize people with few or no children. Since he has nine arrows in his quiver, he gets enormous tax deductions for his progeny. This means he pays little, if any, taxes compared to a single person, or those with few or no children. How he can figure that he is “subsidizing” anyone is a real fantasy.
As a consumer of governmental services, he is not subsidizing anyone, but consuming far more than he contributes. His children will not contribute to my Social Security, they will consume their own Social Security payments. Also, if his quiver of nine bundles of joy also have nine arrows in their quivers, they too will be consumers of governmental services and not pay taxes either.

I hope that the Pearsons do not try to continue “helping” subsidize anyone. They should find another hobby. Their current one is not helping. If their way of doing things were correct, India, China, Africa and South America would be the most prosperous and least crowded countries on Earth.

 Bill Revene

Salt Lake City

It’s always been my understanding that a larger percentage of our household tax dollars go to subsidize public education, compared to families with large numbers of children (thus, more tax deductions). I’m happy to pay taxes for education, because an educated populace is a free and independent populace, and an informed electorate.

At least, that’s the theory.  A few years back when I was much more radical about these things, I used to grouse a lot more loudly about small vs. large footprints, overpopulation, and the fact that poor people without children often had less access to health care and benefits, because poor people with children qualified for many programs not open to single or married couples without children. I had mostly forgotten how outraged I used to be at the thought, and then I watched “Rain in a Dry Land” last night, about two Somali families who were relocated to the U.S.

At one point, the parents of a very large, poor family (9 children – it’s a miracle they all survived the civil wars) were offered a choice: the mother, whose youngest child recently turned two, either had to get a job or go to school. There was no money for child care, and the oldest daughters were doing too well in high school to curtail their education, which was something. “Or….” the social worker offered “if she were to become pregnant, then there would be a medical condition exemption, and also one for having an infant or young toddler…”

The Somali translator took this in, turned to the parents, and said “Have you considered having more children?” Their faces lit up.  Of course, the perfect solution, and the mother looked relieved, hopeful, and apprehensive all at once. If Allah willed it, she would welcome another child, or not, whatever happened.

Less than a year later when the documentarians returned, there was a new baby American in the household. I couldn’t decide if I was moved, or annoyed. I was mostly happy for the family, because the father had found work that was relatively fulfulling (landscape and carpentry work) and everyone else seemed on an upward curve except perhaps for one of the older sons, whose grades weren’t good enough to get him a soccer scholarship to college.

In the other family, at least one of the daughters was likely to wind up pregnant and unmarried not long after the end of the film, but her mother was trying to head that off. Good luck to her. By the way – the Somali people, or at least the Bantu as represented by the families in the documentary are incredibly beautiful, with gorgeous cheekbones and smiles.
Getting back to the letter to the editor:  that’s tellin’ ’em, Bill! But I doubt anyone will see it from your point of view. I do, but then I don’t live in Utah anymore for a very good reason – the smug complacency of the religous quiver-fillers.