Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Ruffled Draft, Works in Progress

EDUCATED IN AMERICA

EDUCATED IN AMERICA
   If you don’t get a good job right out of college, she said, you’re fucked. Then the more time passes, the less and less desirable you are or capable you are considered to be. Then, you really are out of the loop, because you’re not up on your college learnings of what’s latest work in the field or industry work of what’s going on, from the inside. Cause most of that shit is kept exclusive, for the in-crowd only. And how can you keep up and research and write articles or whatever without any credit, established affiliation? You’re not allowed places if you’re just a person, an independent researcher; you have to have some company or organization credentials. You can’t even get membership into associations usually if you are not at a company or organization. And how the fuck can you research all this stuff and try to keep up and research and write articles or work on stuff in your field when you’re too busy working at or looking for a job at some shitty place for $8/hr of furious-paced, very physical service work, or figuring out how the fuck you’re gonna get places with no bus fare, and how the fuck all this food stamp/Unemployment/stave off medical bills magnitude of beauracracy works, etc etc. An Anthro/Archeology prof/researcher once told me, as many other academics and professionals and books on academics/employment applications inform, well, we don’t just look at grades/transcript for admission, we look at what kind of job you’ve had. So, after you’ve put all this hard work in to try to survive, and are finally saying, my only option to make any kind of decent steady income and make something of myself whatsoever is to go “back to school,” that is, to grad school, to just try to afford it, work till it drops,  join a church so they’ll help you prioritize internet, and attempt feably to sell your dysphoric  female body online in order to afford to–all those jobs you took, grasped at, fought for because they were what was finally or actually for once available or that you could get to and from, in order to fucking survive–are a negative factor on your application?!?!
   What kind of fantasy land is she living in? Researcher-professors (or fill-in-the-blank) aren’t actually that far removed from reality; they can’t even consider tenure a feasible future anymore, especially if academicking while female.
   Of course, (unless there were a fantastic job, maybe) going to grad school is what you really always wanted and had originally planned to do right out of college, but of course couldn’t afford the insane $200 test and all the insane applications fees, esp. since any reductions or waivers are not available unless you are in ONLY your 4rth year of undergrad as a “traditional” “senior” and going full-time–which of course you couldn’t afford to do, and mostly anyone who is not super fucking rich with some connection like a parent who’s a professor and practically their entire tuition is waived cannot do. And since so many people are of course so fucking broke and struggling, more and more people have been unable to afford to even try to get into grad school, but since there are nothing but unsustainable or just complete shit temp jobs if there are any, it’s the only option other than to return to or continue on in undergrad like I did, presumably since the 2008/2009 crash–there are in fact a few programs that have application fee waivers, but they have waited over half a decade and make sure to keep that information as well-hidden as possible on their websites or application instructions, certainly don’t put it on paper or any other place accessibly or updated. Of course, still you can’t afford to even do all the schools/programs, etc. research necessary and study for the GRE since all that takes so much time, esp. the longer you’ve been out of school, or even if you did it while still in school, you have to do most of it all over again anyway cause it’s been so long; its been so long the profs you were hoping to go to a program under have now moved from the accolade-ed state-but-reputed-enough school back to their rich-ass upper crust 2 lesbian spots ever in the Ivies. People who are younger than you, who hadn’t even started puberty when you were arrested your first year of college, your second year on your own, cause of course you had to work to save money first,  eating plain white rice with the amazing privilege of somewhat edible mystery mustard from previous roommates’ abandoned condiments, have now gotten the jobs and professorships where you are hoping to apply to grad school or where you try to apply to a job, but get to the “Internship” line and start crying in the middle of the library. Then you remember, of course, so-&-so had a car in college and parents who helped pay tuition or pay off loans, so could afford to take the unpaid internship (as if there’s actually any other kind) after college if they have been at this company since then. Whereas the Americorps shit-pay position you were grooming yourself for like a brain-damaged Jester who longs to be a stable boy just to stay somewhere at Pharaoh’s court, though you still have the pride-urge to do such recently re-promoted civil service (Thanks, Obama), an actual government program to improve conditions for the poor and disenfranchised in many areas, that your mentor did…you will never be allowed to do because of the record, permanent criminalization.
That’s around when you realize they are doing this on purpose, and they win. Because all you can do is put ice in a bag on shin, on your shoulder, on your hip the police smashed and pulled out of socket, and try to psych yourself into walking to the illegally-anti-union factory fake in-house “temp agency” to get in line for 90 minutes for a hopeful job for the day.  And don’t forget to do your physical therapy, but by the time Obamacare gets passed, it will be too late anyway, you can’t carry a tray across a restaurant all night, the president and presence of ubiquitous image of “HOPE” will certainly be gone, like the benefit of the physical therapy less than halfway into the shift at the 20-minute lunch break. But, to look on the bright side, to get where you are, your single-parent has a “good” job at a university where she does not get a lunch break, but don’t tell the Union. White-collar jobs are hard to come by, they say. Say you, it’s just as physical as the job at Taco Bell, but at least I get some “food.” Mix extra water in the plastic rice, Yum!; mas! agua! it’s just business; don’t worry, there’s no Union to tell. The Republicrats succeeded in seceding, choked you with their white-collar star-circle flag; it was just the American Dream.
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Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

‘Oink, Oink’ becomes ‘Oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink…’

Let's bring it home.

Let’s bring it home.

I am not a vegetarian, and I believe humans are mostly ultimately biologic omnivores. I have anemia and have a difficult time not eating any meat. Also, I love bacon, despite my half Hebrew heritage. I respect matanza tradition that feeds a whole community with the slaughter of a pig.

I live where many of the nation’s pigs are raised. You can smell the difference. There is a smell of rot, feces, and death when near the factory farms so pervasive in the air it makes most people gag, so thick it can make your eyes sting. Near small family-owned farms, there are just the normal smells of animals and manure. When IBP and [Tyson, &, &, &] Big Pork industrialized meat animal companies moved in to the state, they bought up family farms when the public and family farmers were not knowledgeable of their practices, until they had enough to affect the market price of pork or meat*, so that more and more small farms or family farms could not afford to keep their operations running. But the way they did that was to put TEN TIMES as many pigs into an area as was usual and considered necessary for the health and safety of the pigs. And you could smell the difference.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, incrementally increasingly, the farm-smell out in the country went from an organic manure smell (or an “eww! man-oo-er!” smell if your family is from the city like mine) to a suffocating chemical-y smell that leaves a person feeling sick. This is partly because there is so much more feces in the same amount of space. Well, pee-yew! But besides simple city-slicker nose wrinkling, there is more sulfur, and the waste cannot be treated the same way. These companies use unsafe methods of dealing with the magnitude of animal waste to turn it into manure or dealing with what cannot be turned into manure: see the viral FactoryFarmDrones.com.

Even in relatively smaller family farm operations, because they must buy in to the pork industry methods to make a living, and they use hog confinement to raise pigs for meat, the danger is fatal. Hog confinement is deadly to humans. It has killed four farmers in one month alone in the hog livestock states.

These companies often purposely ignore the rules of pigs allowed per square foot, because the fine or citation or cost of sanction is affordable to them. Additionally, the rules grew more lax on allowances for treatment of animals and health, safety, and sanitation measures for sickness or deaths per capita, dealing with feces, disposing of dead animals, etc. because these companies intensely and forcefully lobby congress–whereas family farmers did not have such political power, but struggled until in order to continue farming or {continue} making a living, each farmer or family would be econmically forced to either sell the land and lease it back to continue running it–under the new rules of meat industry’s company in the area, just like Big Ag and sharecroppers. Nowadays, often the company fully owns the animals and the farmer raises them or “leases” the animals from the company, originally often involving selling the family’s livestock to the company and “leasing” them back to raise them.

*Industrial livestock animal companies also alter the price in behind-the-scenes stock market and finance industry deals or political negotiations. They use other political tactics, too**, muddying the environmental cause with corruption and essentially not just victim-blaming but economically crushing the family farm, yet again.

Meat is infused with the anti-bacterials the livestock animals must be given just to survive in such close quarters and uncomfortable [worse than] sparse [worse than] cold metal pens. Meat is infused with Red #40 that causes sterility. Brits in the U.S. can taste the formaldehyde in the ground beef.

Last but not least, pigs are as smart or smarter than dogs.

Oh, wait, they’re *&%$ing delicious. Then use a local/family hog-raising farm. Save up for eating it if that’s what it takes. Hey, even if you love swine or meat, there’s no need to eat meat for every meal. In fact, eating less of it from having to buy the expensive local, well-fed, humanely treated meat actually means your meat tastes better because less fear and less infection and not living in your own feces your whole life gives that more satisfied pig better meat, for a more satisfied human.


Some o' my sources:
**Here's a poultry example.
Iowa farm independent film from 2011 (on Big Ag corn?) screened in conjunction with local sustainably-sourced food organization
Applied Animal Behaviour journal's article on cows
"Inside a pig farm" video by Animal Equality, via their Facebook page


PIC: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1381013
Updated 07/28/2015

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Articles and Essays, Happs!, Reviews

“The Roast of Iowa City” endcaps the Festival of the Book

The Roast of Ghostwriter-ville

We are lucky that Iowa City is the only one U.S. UNESCO Literary City the whooole world over, and to have an even bigger, city-wide, weekend-long Festival of the Book for it. The Roast of Iowa City finale was the best part, hands down, glasses up.

But if you only read to laugh, or like to listen to your hilarity while chowing down even more–the Roast of our fine town and campus last Sunday was an IPA- and dark-beer-drinking, mozz-stick-sizzling yuck-it-up to wrap up a writerly, readerly, mostly quiet, reverential, program-history-nostalgic serial string of readings and panels and the usual world-famous authors who of course went here to the Workshop or Nonfiction Writing Program. Word to the Iowa writer alum, the writing students pulled in for it, and the fantastic living breathing achievement, contribution to the canon, and way-paving for every other writing program of the U Iowa writing programs; WE’RE #1!!! It’s true! Pick up a best-seller, or watch one of the current well-written tv shows: Chances are there are Iowa ties, even if you didn’t know when you bought a black and yellow Hawkeye t-shirt.

If you wanna goof off and drink your weekend: Have no fear! Even Book Fest fans the flames of the finest, closeted non-reader fittin’ to Hawk-out! The culture editor of your favorite underground haps rag Little Village told all those stories you thought you were the only one going through about crappy crazy neighbors and trying to get an apartment, a New-Yorker-cum-Iowa-Citian told us why he loves (and hates) the place, a Townie told us why he loves (and hates) the place, and these were almost exactly the same reasons! An English major inflamed us with the fantasy concerns of a young Hawkeye spawn not becoming a fan. And taking the cake was a recent grad describing dating life at U Iowa in good ol’ Iowa City. Who knew Sally Mason, our controversial university president, was on Tinder? Or that a regular-guy student could find her–and she’d be a match?! Did he get a date with her? You should’ve been there!

Sit back in the Mill‘s almost-too-low light next year with me. I’ll order you the Iowa City tradition “Peckinpah” pizza pie that’s been on the menu since current Iowa students were just drunken twinkles in the eyes of some Hawkeyes fumbling with the locks of the stall doors painted with trippy white birch trees.

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Fiction or so, Kettle-Cooked Epaulets

Go Ahead and Fuck the Middle Class [rough draft]

My mother doesn’t really have any friends. It makes me so sad.
She’s always just been raising children, then working, and working and working and working, and never had any money to go out and do anything. And middle class people just look down on it, don’t understand at all a life of taking the bus home, of never, literally NEVER being able to go to a movie late, because there aren’t any buses when it’s over, and a cab is too expensive, it’s not worth it, especially after shelling out for a movie.
That’s how her whole life is, ALL of life. It’s not just like, “oh, it’s kinda expensive,” it’s like, you just *never* get to do anything like that.  So she just never does anything on Sunday. Cause there are no buses.  Anyplace she ever went on Sunday, ever, she walked to.
She never goes out on Saturday night, because she could not get home, because the buses stop at 6:30pm on Saturday.
So–if you’ve  been raising 3 children as a single mother, on $400 a month, for 15 years
how are you gonna get started meeting people to make friends, with limitations like you can just never go out on Saturday night or all day Sunday, period.
(Sunday unless it is close enough and/or the weather is not too hot and not too cold and not too windy and you don’t have to carry a lot, cause you’ll have to walk back.)
I’m afraid that you would just never be seen with us; you would just be totally humiliated to even be seen with us.
When i go “shopping with my mother” last night–we go to Goodwill.
We take a bus, that we have to wait 45 minutes for, then walk some, in the poor neighborhood (that i grew up in and my mother lived in until June)
then we skimp and scrounge because my mother *does not even buy full price clothes at Goodwill*  without budgeting and worry and regret; she has a limit, and very often refuses to buy anything that’s not the half-price sale color tag.
We are both wearing a knapsack, chock full of whatever we had to carry that day–an extra sweater or jacket, a flashlight for *walking* home when it’s dark, an umbrella, plastic containers and baggies from carrying lunch with you.   And we are also each carrying another bag, also from whatever we had to carry that day: my mother also has her purse from work, like a “normal” female coming from work.
So, we walk around in our bulky coats to protect from the cold and wind, since it’s fall now, and our knapsacks, and i’m so happy to be wearing the purple striped cloth backpack you got me. And we’re wearing hats and scarves before anybody around is, that is, before in the season or time of year, because they all are only out walking from their fucking cars to the door of the store, 50 feet through the parking lot, and it hardly even affects them whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 40 degrees and a little windy.  They do things like “toss a hoodie into the backseat of the car”
whereas our entire regimen changes, and the amount that you’re carrying
And we also have to think of WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO WEAR AND CARRY for
FOR WHEN IT GETS DARK AND COLDER
because we will still be out that late, to get home, taking the bus.
My entire life except for the one year i drove with my rich bitch daddy’s girl ex-girlfriend, I have lived like that
… by the time I finally get home after taking two buses in the cold, and now it’s dark, and I had to walk home from the bus stop or to the bus stop a quarter of a mile from wherever i was, and therefore had to bring with me a flashlight and an extra sweater, and a scarf and a hat and an umbrella since they said there’s a 40% chance of rain. . .
by the time i get home– you have been home an hour and a half
had supper
taken a shower
started your homework /
watched a tv show
It is 9:30pm.
I am just getting home
from the activity or store that I went to at 5:30pm.
But you went there right after school, at 4pm.
For 20 minutes of shopping, or turning in some paperwork form to a business or office, I have to leave at 2:30pm     to catch a bus at 2:48pm
then i get dowtown (bus interchange) at 3:15pm
and the next bus, the bus i have to transfer to,       doesn’t come until 4pm
so I have to wait downtown.
And, i have to wait doing nothing, because i don’t have any money to do anything. I can’t go to a cafe, because it costs money to spend $4 just for waiting for the bus, on a drink.
So–you’d better make sure you have a book to read with you! Something else to carry.
And you just sit there, with all the middle school kids from the Black neighborhood.
Then the bus finally comes, at 4pm, and it gets to where I need to go at 4:21pm.
I have to RUSHHH from the bus stop to make sure i get there, in the door before 4:30 pm, when they *close early to avoid rush hour traffic*
Then when I turn in the paperwork, I take it out of my backpack–which the snooty lady behind the desk in high fucking heels in the middle of winter scowls at because it’s considered unprofessional–
and when i take the paperwork out of my backpack, some liquid slime from my lunch that i am also carrying, and have been carrying walking around bouncing around all day in my backpack…. has leaked onto the folder, and it smells like sour tuna fish and mayonnaise.
The lady behind the counter wrinkles her nose into a pucker tighter than a WASP’s asshole, and says, down her nose, “Don’t get that on our counter!”
So, I have to let the folder drip onto their floor, take out my paperwork, and hand it to her.   She says, “Oh, a such and such form. Let me see if Larry’s still in, he processes these–he usually gets them from the mail room.”
Then she turns and asks someone else, Did the mail room intern ever bring the batch to Larry?
She turns to me and says, You should’ve just mailed it.
I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. In bold letters on the top the instructions remain the same as they did when I received the form: MONEY ORDERS MUST BE HAND DELIVERED.   “But it says it has to be turned in in person…” I tell her, my face becoming a little knotted in confusion, and ….
trying not to let it be visible how my stomach is also turning and twisting into knots and my ears turning hot.
“Oh, no no no nonono, that’s just what it says on there,” she says.  Then she tosses her head back and forth like she were trying to burrow her nose farther into Charlton Heston’s behind.

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