Monday, January 30, 2012

TSA strikes again

Y’all know my history with TSA. And the fact that I’ve gotten lucky a time or two in the past with avoiding the rape machines.

Since as a general rule, I’m about as lucky as The Situation in a room full of nuns, my time was bound to come.

We arrived at BWI on Friday for our flight down to Austin, and from the security line, I could tell they were primarily using the rights’ eradicator machine. So the panic attack started up. I was hyperventilating, shaking, my fingers were numb, and I had worse tunnel vision than a Chilean miner.

Short of putting a turban on my head and donning a TNT necklace, I couldn’t have looked much more suspicious.

We got up to the machine, and I tried the good ol’ point-and-whimper technique, but it failed me this time.

The TSA agent looked down at me, his man-boobs puffed out with the kind of superiority that comes with too-tight pants, a plastic badge, and blue rubber gloves, and sneered: “So you’re opting out?”

You mean actually asserting my constitutional rights? God help me, I am.

I nodded, he pointed me through the metal detector (which did NOT go off), called for a female agent, and I promptly burst into tears. Like, uncontrollable sorority-girl-waking-up-at-the-wrong-frat-house tears. Whhhhhyyyyyy meeeeeeeee?!?

I asked for a private screening area and a witness (they didn’t even want to let Charming come with me, so I decided not to push my luck asking for my dead grandfather) and was made to stand and wait while Charming got pictorially raped and the geniuses at the conveyor belt yet again missed my oversized-and-not-in-a-plastic-baggie hair cream. Take that, fuckers.

They wouldn’t even let me sit down, despite the fact that the room was spinning harder than Lance Armstrong on steroids.

Eventually Charming and I were herded into a 4’ x 6’ storage closet, along with two female TSA agents.

Bertha (I’m assuming that was her name – I’m not really in the habit of having friendly conversations with my sexual assailants) explained the process to me, and then asked if I had any sensitive areas.

“Yes! My breasts and … and there [wild pointing towards my lower half]!”

I still haven’t found any big-girl words I’m comfortable using to refer to the lower portion of the female (or male) anatomy.

So then Skipper, the other agent, jumps in and says “It’s not that invasive! Really! I’ll demonstrate!” and proceeds to feel up her co-worker like a worn-out sexual assault doll. Bad touch, BAD TOUCH.

I can still pretty much wear a Fischer Price My First Training Bra, so she didn’t touch my actual chest, but if I’d wanted my ass caressed and rubbed like that, I’d have just gone to a 21 and under dance club.

Charming hugged me and patted my head afterwards, but my skin crawled and I had rocks in my stomach for the rest of the day.

Coming back through Austin was about the same. The agent at the rape machine tried to convince me that the machine wasn’t harmful (if you were a scientist, and/or qualified to do anything other than push a broom, I can guarantee you wouldn’t be wearing those snazzy granny pants for TSA, bitch), then rolled her eyes and called for the pat down.

A pompous little man with the air of a self-important Jack Russell terrier (but unfortunately without the brains) started to escort me toward the physical molestation zone. I stopped, and, though my voice was a little squeaky from the coming panic attack, politely requested a private screening area and a witness.

“I can do the first one, but can’t help ya on the second one.”

I glared down at him and his Napoleon complex, and politely informed him that his own rules state I’m allowed to have a witness, so I’d be bringing my fiancĂ© with me. I got more side eye than a Tea Party member in Congress, but he told me he’d check with his supervisor.

I then asked if they made any allowances under the ADA.

“The what?”

Airports are one of the specific sections mentioned under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and you don’t even know what it is? That would be like Congressmen not reading the Constitution they’re supposed to uphold… oh, right, got it.

At this point he’s snarling at me like a rabid ferret, looks me up and down, cocks his head to the side, and with enough sarcasm to make Ann Coulter proud asks me if I’m capable of standing upright for 3 seconds with my arms out.

“Yes.” I stared him full in the face, “But I’m not capable of being touched by strangers.” He mumbled something about checking with his supervisor, and I didn’t see him again.

Two female agents escorted Charming and I into an actual private screening area, complete with chair and a mat, so I wasn’t barefoot on a rat-poop encrusted (I’m assuming) concrete floor, I’mlookingatyou,BWI.

I made it through this caress fest with fewer tears, but the same amount of uncomfortable flinching.

So I learned two things from all this – aside, of course, from the fact that I am perfectly willing to sob like a preteen at a Beiber concert in public:

1) if you want to smuggle something into an airport, hide it in a body cavity – especially metal items! - and then opt out. The day they start checking those in a ‘routine’ pat down is the day I abdicate my citizenship and move to Israel.

2) It takes two agents to conduct every screening – if 4 or 5 people in a row opted out, TSA would immediately be overwhelmed personnel-wise and their entire system would collapse.

Despite TSA’s blustering that this technology makes us safer, there are actually MORE loopholes and potential ways to get around a technology-based screening now. Not only are they terrorizing the American public for no good reason, we’ve actually regressed safety-wise.

So now I’m writing letters to my representatives, to the ACLU, and to you, my unwitting blog readers, in an attempt to get people angry about this shit again. I know the 4th amendment isn’t as cool-sounding as the 1st amendment, but we need to beat TSA into submission like that dirty hooker, the SOPA bill.

If you’re not angry, you haven’t had your ass petted by enough sexually-repressed fat women.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rule of three

Everyone knows bad things happen in threes (and if you don’t know that, go watch the 30 Rock Rule of Three episode now, I’ll wait. Betty White is involved – it’s magic).

So last year, after my grandfather passed away, then Charming’s great-Uncle, then my stepbrother, I was at least a teensy bit relieved (as much as one can be in the wake of so much tragedy) that we were done with our three.

But this year we’ve started early. Sadly, Charming’s grandfather passed away last weekend, and we lost my uncle (my mom’s oldest brother) this morning. He’d been in failing health, and of course death brings that bittersweet consolation that at least he’s no longer in pain, but losing someone always leaves a hollowed vacuum that echoes with sadness, regrets and hopefully enough happy memories to cherish for a lifetime.

This just feels especially hard because Uncle H was part of my mom’s generation – he was actually 12 years older than her, but he was in that ‘parent-aged’ generation, not grandparent generation. He does have three grandchildren – my second cousins – but he’s still only one generation away from me, not two.

I’m not ready to start losing this next generation. Not that we’re ever ready to lose those we love, but we know our grandparents as ‘old’ and I feel that we’re somewhat more equipped to begin to prepare ourselves for their absence. And of course, we could get extremely lucky, like my father, who had his grandfather up until last year, when he passed away at 100 ½.

We meet our parents as middle-aged – of course they’re not young and hip or anything – god no – but they’re not old-old, either. And even with large age differences, aunts and uncles fall into that category as well. When members of this generation start passing away, it means we’re that much closer to losing our own parents. And that I can’t deal with.

As hard as it is, I really hope this is a wakeup call for my mom. You can’t force someone to be healthy – and she has started making some changes for the better – but I don’t want this to even be on my radar screen of Things I Have to Worry About All the Damned Time (as opposed to the Things I Worry About Even Though I Probably Don’t Need To list, which includes getting my shoelaces caught in escalators, butterfly attacks and zombie apocalypses).

When I one day get around to having kids (or, you know, adopting – thanks, Miss Sassy for letting me know about that pooping thing), I want my mom to be young and healthy enough to know them, enjoy them, and babysit them until they’re at least 18.

And I don’t want to lose my best friend. Because, you know, even when she’s making bridal salon salespeople feel like the insignificant insects they are, that’s what she is.

Today I’m aching for my Aunt, who lost her husband, my cousins who lost their father, my second cousins who lost their grandfather, and my mom and uncle who lost a second brother. Hug those you love, and appreciate every day with them.

And here's hoping that the Ravens loss in the AFC Championship game was enough of a tragedy to satisfy our three Bad Things for the year. Because I know I can't take much more.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A surge of Santorum. The frothy kind.

Well gee, golly, them folks in Iowa sure did have us fooled. Turns out that after a recount (Florida, anyone?) the winner of the Iowa caucuses wasn’t in fact everyone’s favorite Mormon, Mr. Romney, but Mr. Google Problem himself, Rick Santorum.

”I took one in the ass that was THIS BIG!”

Somehow, this man, who thinks that the way to show love for your fellow [gay] man is to treat him like a second class citizen and deny him equal rights, is still in the running for the Republican candidacy. Because after the combined crazy of Palin and Bachmann, what’s a little ignorant homophobia between friends?

His campaign recently trotted out an openly-gay former aide of Santorum, whose ringing endorsement of the fellow included the phrase: “I call him a chocolate-covered strawberry, because he’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside.” No seriously. The chocolate part is all fecal matter.

And has anyone ever noticed how much this guy looks like the bastard offspring of Bob Saget and Jerry Seinfeld? Without the funny, of course, because he’s dead-fucking-serious about imposing his twisted version of morality on each and every one of us.

It’s math, folks.

Forcing me to carry a child, against my will, in my uterus (which, last I checked, is inside my body), that I don’t want and/or can’t raise/care for is rape, Mr. Santorum, pure and simple. Just as surely as if you put it there.

And no amount of anal lube can soften that fact.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Darned uppity chimpanzees...

Grab this image (while you still can):

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I compared our government to a chimpanzee, but not in a racist way, promise.

I’m going dark tomorrow for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) protest. No this won’t involve any racially-questionable face paint – it’ll just make my failure to produce content of any value a deliberate and coordinated form of social protest.

For those of you living under the proverbial rock, SOPA would “expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods” (from Wikipedia – oh god, what am I going to do without you tomorrow?!)

While I am all about intellectual property rights (hell, I get mad when people re-pin my pins on Pinterest – go stalk Style Me Pretty yourself!) this is just one more power that the US government absolutely does not need.

It would be like putting a chimpanzee in charge of the American School for the Deaf – just because the chimp sort of knows how to use sign language doesn’t mean he’s capable or competent to oversee its use.

Our government needs to be kept on a short leash – not turned loose on the unsuspecting public like Jersey Shore cast members in Miami/Italy/wherever.

My favoritest writer/political pundit/all-around badass ever, PJ O’rourke once said “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Except it’s becoming more like giving porn machines and unchecked authority to TSA. Oh. Wait.

Also, I don’t want to end up in jail for all the blatant stealing-of-images/topics that goes on around here. But then again, with nothing to do but think and workout, I could become super-fit and a badass writer. Bring it, Congress.

What do you guys think of SOPA/PIPA (<-- not Kate’s sister)?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fighting ignorance through Girl Scout cookies

I was in Girl Scouts throughout middle school and early high school, and I learned valuable life lessons such as guilting family members into buying endless boxes of cookies, sleeping in a mall, and how to make shoe decorations out of safety pins.

I look back on my time in Girl Scouts mostly fondly, though I do occasionally have nightmares involving hot glue guns and indiscriminate amounts of glitter.

But now, some stupid little twat teen out in California has started a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, in an attempt to teach the Girl Scouts of America (GSUSA) a lesson. Thin Mints are for Satan worshippers!

GSUSA’s transgression? Admitting a 7 year old transgendered child, who identifies (and her parents identify) as female.

In her YouTube video, this ignorant, indoctrinated-by-Sarah-Palin brat, stares towards the lower left hand corner of the camera, and intones on mechanically about how GSUSA is lying to girls and their leaders and the whole gosh-darned public by admitting this child. Quote. End quote.

She also points out that there are already many transgendered children serving in Girl Scouts throughout the country, and people don’t even know it.

Isn’t… that the whole point? If the child identifies as female, and you can’t tell that she’s not, she’s doing a pretty good job of being female.

I love me some Toddlers and Tiaras, but preschoolers are a bit young to be undergoing major surgery like sex change operations. So maybe they aren’t “legally” girls, but why should they be discriminated against – especially in an organization that teaches tolerance and fairness?

The chick continues on by arguing that Girl Scouts is supposed to be an all-girl environment, and therefore safe for girls. Bitch needs to spend some time in a women’s prison – or a high school - if she thinks girl-on-girl violence doesn’t happen. We don’t even need shivs (though sparkly ones are nice): most of us can cut a bitch with just a look.

Honestly, I couldn’t get past 3 minutes of the video, because it made me want to strangle her parents with a Cadet Sash for raising this girl with ignorance, intolerance and access to a video camera.

I see only one option for me in this situation – I simply must buy exorbitant amounts of girl scout cookies this year. Gluten allergy be damned – I’m fighting intolerance, one delicious, caramel-y Samosa at a time.

And you should totally join me - I’m pretty sure protest-cookies are calorie-free.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Florida: Because you thought Mississippi was bad…

After watching Mississippi fail to pass the ‘personhood’ legislation in November (in all likelihood because no one in the state could read well enough to vote), Florida decided to take matters into their own hands.

Florida Republican and ordained Baptist minister Charles VanZant introduced House Bill 1151, which states that "all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at conception."

Apparently the founding fathers were just kidding about that whole ‘separation of church and state’ thing, y’all.

Now this may come as a surprise to some Republicans people, but the US Constitution has this thing called the First Amendment, which is further broken down into the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause.

The Establishment Clause prohibits Congress from establishing a national religion or favoring one religion over another. The Free Exercise Clause means they can’t prohibit people from practicing any religion.

But unfortunately for Florida, basic history classes don’t seem to be a requisite for getting elected to public office. I’m looking at you, too, Jeb Bush.

Under VanZant’s law, a fetus absolutely cannot be destroyed, even in the case of rape or incest. Women need to be held responsible for their whorish ways, people.

And obviously, not believing in an all-powerful Creator who oversees the functioning of every woman’s uterus is not an issue, because we’re all Christians, right?

The law does allow one teeny, tiny exception – an abortion can be performed if and only if two doctors can certify in writing “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” that the mother will die otherwise.

At the rate at which medical decisions are made, and the cost at which they are made, the unborn child will be 50 years old and paying their way out of debt before it can be determined that the mother probably died from childbirth.

Paternalism by the state is fun.

Unfortunately for VanZant, this one probably won’t pass (that whole specifically-mentioning-God-in-the-legislation thing isn’t gonna sneak past too many people), but fortunately for all the other masochists in Florida – there are 18 other anti-abortion bills from which to choose!

Already, 7 new anti-abortion bills have been introduced in the 2012 session alone. Which is great news, you know, if you hate women.

Should we just start the End Women’s Suffrage campaigns now?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

TSA: It's Technically Sexual Assault - Part 2

So when we last left off, I had just pointed and blubbered my way through the metal detector in Baltimore, rather than being forced through the porn-picture taker.

Skip ahead through Vandy losing a heartbreaker (in true Vandy fashion) to Cincinnati, the most amazing Rent the Runway rental dress yet, a bucket o’ alcohol on Beale St for NYE, and sushi at the very same sushi dive restaurant where Charming and I met 9 (holy smokes, batman!) years ago, and we were back at the airport in Nashvegas, getting ready for our return flight.

$375 Cynthia Rowley dress – I felt like a rockstar in this thing. Or at least like a non-anorexic Paris Hilton with better hair.

After a brief hiatus so Charming could go retrieve his iPhone that he left in the rental car, we made our way up to security.

Unlike our return flight from Miami a couple weeks ago, there was no dickish TSA agent this time making people actually shove their rolly bags into the carry on sizer to make sure they’d fit. We wasted 20 minutes re-packing, sitting on and cursing at Charming’s bag to get it to fit. Only so we could get past Mr. Power Trip and re-expand it. And – stop the presses – it still fit on the damned plane.

So yeah, anyway, didn’t have to deal with that this time.

But from the security line, we could see that we were going to have to deal with the body snatchers scanners.

I was nearly in tears by the time I reached the guy checking boarding passes and IDs. Non-suspicious tears, apparently. A TSA agent who was just wandering around the x-ray machines did give me the side-eye a few times, but he never said a word.

So I was shaking harder than Beyonce’s ass at a Jay-Z concert, but I somehow got my assorted accessories and belongings into the x-ray machine, and was trying to remember how to form words so I could alert someone that I wanted to opt out.

My plan was to demand a private room for the would-get-you-arrested-if-you-didn’t-work-for-TSA-sexual assault, as well as a companion of my choice to be present during the humiliation and violent desecration of my rights and mental well-being.

But I wasn’t going to pick Charming. Oh no. If you read their rules, it never specifies that the witness you select has to be at the airport with you.

I was planning to ask for my mom, meaning they’d have to fly her down. Or my grandfather. He’s dead, so good luck with that one.

If they can’t meet their own rules, they can’t provide the pat down. Then I could just politely request to go through the metal detector instead.

But somehow, the God of Airports and Tebows smiled upon me, and as I stumbled toward my fate, they had to shut the rape machine down to recalibrate or something (the guy on the other end probably ran out of tissues), and I was ushered through the metal detector instead.

It occurred to me, well after the fact, that the death machines can’t be good for pregnant women. When I brought this up with Charming, he immediately informed me that we’re not getting pregnant just so I can avoid the soul-sucking porno device for 9 months.

Pssh, like I’d ever think of that. I just want to PRETEND to be pregnant to avoid the death rays for the rest of my life. This belly pudge could really come in handy for something…

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TSA: Truly Sick Authority

TSA and I are not friends. When they introduced the rights-stealing death machines last year, I wrote a letter to the ACLU, blogged about a bad experience I had and generally whined to anyone who would listen. I probably threw in a Nazi-regime reference or two, as well. Which may partially explain some of the search hits this blog gets for Nazi women in waders. Huh.


This past weekend, Charming and I travelled to Nashville and back, and it looked like my luck with avoiding the porno-rape machine was about to run out.

As we waited in line at security in Baltimore, they were alternating between the metal detector and death-scanner, though the majority of people were being forced to submit to the showers the x-rays.

I kept an eye on the proceedings as I was stripping off my coat, my belt, my shoes, my jewelry, my dignity, etc., trying to determine if there was any rhyme or reason to who was getting sent to which machine.

The TSA agent asked the Asian kid from the other conveyor belt line how old he was (34 – I told you Asians don’t age), then sent him through the dignity-eraser. I waited with interest to see if I’d get asked my age - I’m pretty sure I could have passed for 13 or so, if they were worried about kiddie porn giving cancer to kids - but alas, I wasn’t asked my age.

Then the TSA agent signaled me through the death-hole.

My palms turned clammy, my hands were shaking and I started backing up like a dancer in a Juvenile rap video.

Charming tried to calm me down, but my heart was already pounding and I was wheezing and gasping like Hugh Hefner at an orgy.

Charming herded me back toward the soul-sucking cancer-inducer, and I caught the TSA agent’s attention with my pointing and incoherent babbling. I managed to choke out: “Can I just go through there??” while pointing spastically at the metal detector.

He rolled his eyes at his fellow guardian of safe travel and humanity, and responded, word for word, with: “Do what you want. I don’t have time for this shit.”

Now, normally I might complain about these safe-guarders of our freedom of travel giving less than 100% to their job. I might point out that without these [barely-high-school-educated, making-$24,000-a-year, less-qualified/well-paid-than-your-average-janitor] scions of public safety, we couldn’t possibly protect air travel. I might even ponder out loud the possibilities of terrorists figuring out that they could just ask to avoid the molestation machine and continue to bring their explosives through the metal detectors.

But I’m feeling kind of charitable.

So instead, I’ll just say, thank you, TSA, for your ineptitude. My panic disorder and I really appreciate it.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this thrilling saga: the return from Nashville to Baltimore.