As Weapons Sharper Than Knives

A very strange little article turned up in the Huffington Post today. It’s AP sourced, which is bad blog juju. Go ahead. Read the article. It’s ten sentences in six teeny paragraphs.

Let’s review. NYC is charging rent for space in homeless shelters. Advocates for the homeless say this is the craziest shit ever. NYC officials say giving poor people stuff sucks because they’re – like – icky. This sounds awfully familiar because it is. Remember last May?

The Bloomberg administration has quietly begun charging rent to homeless families who live in publicly run shelters but have income from jobs.

The new policy is based on a 1997 state law that was not enforced until last week, when shelter operators across the city began requiring residents to pay a certain portion of their income. The amount varies based on factors that include family size and what shelter is being used, but should not exceed 50 percent of a family’s income, a state official said.

Vanessa Dacosta, who earns $8.40 an hour as a cashier at Sbarro, received a notice under her door several weeks ago informing her that she had to give $336 of her approximately $800 per month in wages to the Clinton Family Inn, a shelter in Hell’s Kitchen where she has lived since March.

“It’s not right,” said Ms. Dacosta, a single mother of a 2-year-old who said she spends nearly $100 a week on child care. “I pay my baby sitter, I buy diapers, and I’m trying to save money so I can get out of here. I don’t want to be in the shelter forever.”


“I think it’s hard to argue that families that can contribute to their shelter cost shouldn’t,” Robert V. Hess, the city’s commissioner of homeless services, said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t see this playing out in an adverse way. Our objective is not for families to remain in shelter. Our objective is to move families back into their own homes and into the community.”

I think it would be hard to argue that there’s a bigger dick anywhere than Robert V. Hess, Commissioner of Homeless Services, who plainly has never missed an expensed meal in his life.

Fuck me, what about last July?

The new policy gives the city greater latitude to push families out of the shelter system, which had swelled to a near-high of 9,720 families as of Sunday. Families could always be evicted for illegal behavior like bringing in drugs or weapons, but they can now be ousted for any of 28 violations, including failing to sign in and out or not keeping an active case file with city welfare agencies.

The new policy is also meant to encourage families to more readily accept permanent housing, even if it is not to their liking.

“We would only expect to use this process in the most egregious of situations,” said Robert V. Hess, the commissioner for homeless services, in an interview on Monday. “We do have a small number of families where temporary emergency shelter is really being used as permanent housing.”

Evictions are for a 30-day period.

I’ve read those four paragraphs about ten times, and if those words make sense in that order I need a new native language. And watch this exhilarating turn of phrase:

Mr. Hess said it was not clear where families removed from shelter might turn. “The most likely outcome is that the family would demonstrate that they do have a place to go,” he said.

Or…they might be homeless and have nowhere but the sidewalk, which by this motherfucker’s definition is a place to go. But it’s only for 30 days, right?

The articles that repeatedly detonated my frontal lobe contained specifics: contact information, odious policies, affected people, statistics, some description of the projected outcomes, which distressed me. The AP write up in the Huffington Post is blessedly free of anything, really. It’s almost as if the article avoids using words. Have another look. NYC is charging rent for space in homeless shelters. Advocates for the homeless say this is the craziest shit ever. NYC officials say giving poor people stuff sucks because they’re – like – icky. This was moral horseshit a year ago; now it is merely manure. But why even mention it? Why did the AP publish this? Why did the HP make space for it now? Look for stories in the next few months in which NYC ups the heat on the homeless as the weather warms.

This is not hard to predict. It’s almost as if it’s happened before.


After Night No Questions Asked

Panky perks up after a foiled escape attempt, already planning to blast his way out next time or as soon as he can pronounce that.

Pete and I cleaned and scoured and vacuumed and mopped and laundered for a week before Miss Sasha, Mr. Sasha and Panky arrived for a sleep over. The cats made themselves scarce. Five people, one of whom has not developed an inside voice, put up a racket. Every so often Sweetpea would slink down the stairs, catch a glimpse of Panky, say, “What the hell is THAT?” and flee. Miss Sasha left in the morning with Dad’s tiny baking forms, one of Dad’s working notebooks and one of Pete’s authoritative pastry books. Mr. Sasha left with ideas for container gardening in North Dakota. Panky left needing a nap and better alibis.

They were at our house for a total of 17 hours and three days later I’m still falling asleep in my V8 Juice.

You Say Rolls I Say Royce

This morning, Pete and I went out for a bike ride up and down hills, through a park, across a campus, over a bridge, back through a park. We probably rode about 11 miles, stopping twice for water. Generally, half an hour of exercise buys me two hours of minimal hip pain, so I felt pretty good when we got into the car to trace the path of our hometown food bank’s fundraising bike ride. The ride has 60 mile, 40 mile, 25 mile and smaller segments; we’ve been thinking about riding a 10 mile segment, which we understand is part of the 25 mile segment and we had a map. We drove around on the 25 mile route and at about the halfway point, I knew my hip would not handle that distance well. Pete had his doubts as well. By the time we reached the finish line, I was glum and Pete was overly optimistic. We stopped at the bicycle store on the corner for a rear view mirror for my bike. It was a mistake.

The store itself is the size of my kitchen and every centimeter is covered with bike gear. For some reason I have not been able to put my finger on, this is Dude World. Seven customers are in the store, three of whom are women – and yet, you can almost smell the testosterone. No one says anything to me. No one says anything to Pete either until he gets face to face with the guy in charge and asks about mirrors. The other guy, who is shouting to someone else about how he didn’t get his ride in this morning because he came here to build bikes, points to a crowded corner and waves dismissively. Pete waded in, picked out a mirror and the shouting guy explained to Pete how to install it on a bike. I was already steaming when Pete went around the counter and asked the owner about the race.

Dude: They get a few guys who hammer the 60 mile. For the guy who wins, it’s a race, but from second place on, it’s a ride. They’ve got a 40 mile and a 25 mile part.
Tata: There’s a 10 mile part, too.
Dude: Yeah, they have a few kiddie races. You’re thinking about riding that one?
Tata: I’m rehabbing a hip injury and that’s not too ambitious.

He didn’t apologize. He meant that slight. I brushed him off and we left, but my hip ached. Back at home, I limped to the couch and stayed there for a while. I drank a glass of wine and lay down for an uncomfortable nap; when I got up, I still didn’t have much to say.

This douchebaggery is nothing new and certainly not unique to me. We all encounter people who size us up and declare us wanting. Usually, all I have to hear is Pfft! You? and I’m off to the races, but this guy got a piece of me because I was already doubtful. Last night, I declared I’d never set foot in that shop again, and I never will. This morning, I got up and got back on the bicycle with my rear view mirror properly installed. We are going to do that 10 mile bike ride.

My friends, the bitch is back.

Quiet Nights On the Back Porch

Panky visited my house, pushed over my washboard a couple of times and sat on the stairs in time out. At 27 months, he is already trying out impossible alibis. For instance, when we saw him knock down the baby gate, he blamed it on Sweetpea. Miss Sasha said, “I now understand why you could always tell when I was lying.”

Too exhausted to declare myself crosseyed. I’ll work up to it tomorrow.

To Come Is A Verb Intransitive

What, was yesterday April Fool’s Day again?

I’m sure I’m not the only girl who enjoyed playing this imaginary game [dressing up like a bride – ed.]. Unfortunately no one ever warned me that reaching my childhood fantasy was much easier said than done.

Let’s take this one slowly. In the Huffington Post, where one assumes grownups may be talking, this young woman complained that childhood fantasies didn’t come with warning labels. Maybe we should sew them into pretty-pretty princess costumes: Warning. Actual magic wand, singing mice, happily ever after not included.

My cousins who gathered around me then are now happily married, most with children and still living in Iran. On the other hand I have become a “therapist” and shoulder to cry on for every girl I know who can’t find Mr. Right or even land a date with Mr. Maybe. Some of these women are intelligent, beautiful and successful but spend half their time on dating website getting matched up with people with whom they have to force themselves to have “chemistry”.

Translation: I hate my friends. They are my social inferiors, but since they are less attractive than I am, I feign interest in their problems.

Others are at clubs and bars competing with tons of girls who are dressed in provocative outfits (read: slutty) in order to attract men’s attention.

Yes. We can all read slutty.

The last time I walked into a club with all my single girlfriends it occurred to me that I had just entered into a casting room and I was about to audition for some sort of sexy horror movie.

Well, duh. Who hasn’t walked into a club with all her single girlfriends looking their flaming red-hottest only to find that guy with the chainsaw on the dance floor isn’t going to take Piss off, doofus for an answer? Sweetie, that’s a Saturday night in the Meat Packing District.

Not only was[sic] every girl’s breast implants barely covered by their tops but their short skirts made me want to take off my skinny jeans because I seemed too conservative and felt the pressure to fit in.

Yes. Please take off your skinny jeans – for modesty!

At that moment I started to reminisce about the years I lived in Iran and how I witnessed so many of my relatives finding love in a level that is completely foreign to what we are familiar with in our society.

Amazing! I’m reminiscing about a time before I became acquainted with this wretched column.

A woman doesn’t have to go hunt for a man or stress about the possibility of never getting married; instead she finds love and courtship in the most relaxed, respectful way possible.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but Pegah Patra can kiss my fabulous ass – not a little bit of it, but in fact my entire ass. See:

Could this be the fault of women who for years were fighting for feminism and wanting to be free and equal to men? Of course we believe in equal rights and a woman’s independence but maybe the concept of feminism has also taken us to the extreme level of sexual freedom. By making sex so available and accessible for men it allows them to lose respect and not value courtship the way they did years ago in western cultures or as they still do in many parts of the world.

Listen, some folks think sex is something you let someone do to you – as opposed to something awesome you do with someone you like, love or just met in the hot, sweaty elevator on the way up here. Those people also think women in short skirts are asking to get raped. They don’t like, trust or value women, certainly not women who have an afternoon free and think, What the hell, that person of my preferred gender smells great. I could have some sex. If you’ve never done that, by the way, it is awesome.

Feminism doesn’t solve women’s problems. It is the outlandish notion that women are people just like men, and may even want some of the same things men want. No one studies feminist theory to find a husband. It’s not the fault of feminism either when women like Patra act as enforcers for the Patriarchy. Here she offers one more kick to the ribs.

To be clear, I love my independence, freedom and the power I have as a woman in this country which I am sure most other woman do as well, but we must admit that sometimes we all have the fantasy of old fashion respect along with the guarantee of one day having a house, husband and children. But it seems that the fantasy of courtships like the scene in The Godfather where Michael meets the virgin Appolonia in Sicily and conveys ultimate respect to her and her family is now passé.

Thank your lucky stars it is, sister, or you and your slutty girlfriends would have every reason to be nervous whenever a man picked up a rock.

Or to use another movie term, Gone With The Wind.

What? What?

And for many women, that is nothing to celebrate.

Actually, there is. If Patra’s friends back home are happy, good for them. If Patra’s happy living with her cognitive dissonance, good for her. If Patra’s friends are unhappy, let us hope they find ways to make themselves happy. I’m happy, quoting Gilmore Girls:

Miss Patty: It’s times like these that you realize what is truly important in your life. I’m so glad I had all that sex.

Except it’s not really about sex, is it? The column in which Patra claims to know the secret to women’s happiness comes off as sad; happiness is ultimately unavailable, she says. Women in America cannot have it as long as they’re slutty-slut-sluts, but if they stopped all that sluttiness, regained their virginity and moved to Iran, men would be respectful. I suppose that’s a plan, but it’s about as likely to succeed as the one with the singing mice.

Crossposted at Brilliant @ Breakfast.

We Can Dance If We Want To

Fucking Blogger, which has often sucked like a giant thing that sucks giantly, has decided to cut me off because this blog uses FTP. Here, enjoy this bedtime story:

FTP publishing will no longer be available after May 1, 2010
You currently have blogs that are published using FTP. You must migrate your blogs to a new custom domain URL or a blogspot URL.

Yay! The bum’s rush it is! Clean cup! Clean cup! YAHTZEE!

I hate Typepad. Siobhan recommends WordPress. If you’re not using Blogger, what are you using? Do you like it?

Thinking Anything If You’re Thinking

Miss Sasha, Mr. Sasha and Panky will be staying overnight with us on Friday. We keep our house as clean as two people with multiple jobs can, which is to say that it’s tidy with cat fur tumbleweeds. That’s fine for us, but when we started thinking about what a two-year-old might pick up and sample for flavor, out came rubber gloves and the shop vac. Tonight, Pete boiled the bathroom. Tomorrow, he’ll set up a bed, I’ll clean the cat boxes, vacuum everything and we’re going to shampoo a carpet. At home in North Dakota, Panky lives with cats and a 125 lb. dog, so the little guy’s unlikely to nibble cat poop. I think. Anyway, it’s been awhile since I lived with a toddler, but I remember that no matter how clean the house, the child will find something that formed its own disastrous ecosystem.

You’ll be pleased to hear I made fresh yogurt. You know: to boost the immune system.