The Government Ate My Baby

After initial unconcern, then schools closing because the outbreak of swine flu was so bad, my doctor wants me to get the vaccine, and finally got some in, after weeks of not knowing when/if she would. This is good, yes? But we live in a place where people routinely do not vaccinate their children (something like 12 times the national average for exemption requests at school - which, among other things, led to a recent outbreak of whooping cough. Whooping cough! Pertussis! Who knew it even still existed, outside of Victorian novels? Cheese and Rice. [that's how fearful Mormons avoid using the lord's name in vain - say it out loud, you'll see]) and therefore have been sending around all kinds of info about how the vaccine is going to damage my unborn child. (who the doctors think is most at risk if he actually gets the flu, which is not unlikely these days) Except. Except!

They are spouting incorrect information. (specifically in this case about certain ingredients that are not actually in the H1N1 vaccine) And it really irritates me. And the internet doesn't help, with all the crazies out there going on about how bad for you things are, and how untested, and so forth. The problem is that they aren't always wrong, but it's sort of boy-who-cried-wolf, and then it's hard to know what to actually trust, but my gut does not point me in the direction of the people who write IN ALL CAPS and clearly have a limited understanding of the English language and an attachment to government conspiracy.

I'm getting the vaccine today. So there. Just needed to vent a bit.


My Uterus Ripens

There's just something about that expression that tickles me. As I've reached the "any day now, or else another few weeks" point of pregnancy, I decided to actually flip through some of the books on birthing that have been filling up a shelf, given to us and ignored for all these months. Having done so, I concluded that it would have been fine not to look at them, for the most part. Got some amusement out of visualizing strawberry mists to float on (don't really think that's going to happen, but you never know). Can't even remember the other funny bits. But I will say that - as common wisdom around here goes - Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is the one to read, if you're going to read one. She's got a good attitude, lots of experience, a nice combination of common sense, humor, appreciation for modern medicine, and trust in a woman's body. She talks about how men would brag if they had a body part that could do what our girly bits do, and I have these great images of men shooting pool, drinking beer, and claiming "Mine dilated to 13 centimeters, dude!"

That idea - that our bodies are built for this and know what to do - is the most helpful birth prep for me. It's something I can believe in and hang on to and has moved me beyond the "very small hole" anxiety of the early days. Heck, I'm even aiming for orgasmic! If I can't have dolphins, I can at least hope for that.

On another note entirely, Glee may be my new favorite show. It has some unnecessary side plots (the wife with the fake pregnancy) but on the whole is pretty damn entertaining. Except I got that irritating Beyonce song stuck in my head after the last episode I saw (we're watching them online, and therefore are behind a few weeks). I can't quite put my finger on why I dislike it so much, but something just doesn't work for me about that whole "If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it" bit. I'm sure some clever feminist has a well-articulated argument about possession and objectification and all that jazz, so I'll just get on her bandwagon, wherever she is. You go, girl!

This whole television-on-the-internet thing has totally ruined my self-righteousness about not having a TV. And I missed World Poetry Day, and meant to post some choice rhymes. Even if they didn't actually rhyme. Another time.

Ok, back to the daily lounging about and feeling uncomfortable. :)


Gay Pride March Of The Penguins

A side effect of not teaching this semester is that I just missed Banned Books Week, the ALA's celebration of the freedom to read. It was last week, and when I'm in class, I always do something about it with the kids. We look at lists of books that have been challenged or banned and discuss why and read some of them and talk about what they think is appropriate or not, and so on. It's pretty great.

While I'm not advocating reading Stephen King's _It_ to your five-year-old (though I read it probably far too young, in fifth grade, and had nightmares and called it one of my favorite books for years afterwards), or the Penthouse Forum to your grade-schooler (they'll discover it soon enough on their own anyway), I'm pretty strongly against the kind of censorship that book banning is all about. Especially when it's led by the religious nutjobs who think they should be the moral arbiters of our society.

Case in point: The most frequently challenged book in 2008 was _And Tango Makes Three_, a children's book based on a true story about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who hatched an egg and raised a baby. It's totally adorable. It won all kinds of best book awards. It is not going to make your child - who will love this story, because penguins! Yay! - grow up any gayer than they otherwise would.

Other than the ridiculous challenges to kids' books (Bridge to Terabithia, The Giver, Goosebumps, In The Night Kitchen, Where's Waldo, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret, to name a very few), the ones that really irritate me are the challenges to the "classics" (including Catcher in The Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch-22, Lord of the Flies, Gone With The Wind, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Of Mice and Men, etc). For one reason or another, these books are considered some of the very best written - you can argue with the literary merits if you like, but to ban them? Why don't we want to raise a generation that thinks, that grapples with issues they may not agree with, that takes on the complications of being human?

So go out and read a banned book, and tell people all about it. Score one for the Queer Penguin Alliance!