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  • (9)

    Let's repeat that:

    Gay couples don't have equal rights. Gay people do.

    As far as I know, couples are not mentioned in the US Constitution. However, people are. We the people (etc etc etc). So when the mainstream media, stuck in their tired old frames, too stuck in their ways and prideful of their privilege, go on and on about a "victory for gay couples," you need to step back and think about what's really happening.

    The court ruled that gay people have equal rights.

    And when you think about this, it's a no-brainer.

    Example: If I want to marry Jane, and the government says, "No, you can't," what it's really saying is, "No, you can't marry Jane because you are a woman." Of course, if I were a man, sure, I could marry Jane.

    That is plain and simple sex discrimination. It's not about gay-ness. It's not about couples. It's about the government requiring that I be of a certain sex in order to marry Jane.

    This is why the right-wing hysteria over gay marriage is so misplaced and overblown — all the more so when it's a tea bagger. Tea baggers are big on saying how they're for shrinking government, but they sure want the government to protect them from their own homophobia.

    For an eloquent post on this topic, see Derek Powazek's post:

    In much of the news coverage today, I’ve seen the phrase “Pro-Gay Marriage” used to describe the people who are celebrating Judge Walker’s ruling. But this rubs me the wrong way.

    I’m not Pro-Gay Marriage, I’m Pro-Equality. I’m not Pro-Gay Rights, I’m Pro-Common Sense. I’m Anti-Discrimination. I’m Anti-Enshrining Your Queasiness About Buttsex In My Constitution. I’m Pro-When The Constitution Says We’re All Equal, It Means We’re All Equal.

    I’m married, and it matters. It changes the way I look at the world, and the way the world looks at me. It comes with state and federal benefits and rights. Withholding those things from same-sex couples is discrimination, pure and simple. If you support withholding rights from people because of who they are, you’re a bigot. Period.

    My grandmother taught me two important lessons. The first was tolerance. Enjoy people who are different from you. It’s the variety that makes life wonderful. The second was to always look out for the rights of others. Because if you sit by and let discrimination happen, you’ll be next.

    So if you're against gay marriage, here's the easy solution: Don't do it. Now wasn't that easy? (If not, maybe you should ponder a bit on the source of your opposition.)

    [Photo: Happy face of hate, by Burns! (cc)]

  • (9)

    Not that I claim to know more than Pope Benedict's first-person Nazi expertise, but his claim that Nazis were about atheism is somewhat bizarre:

    The Pope used this speech to warn Britain about "aggressive forms of secularism" and "atheist extremism" in society. He recounted Britain's stand against the Nazis, then stated "As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the Twentieth Century."

    In a few short sentences, Benedict threw down a gauntlet by linking the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany with atheism. While, to be fair to the Pope, the Nazis had no real love for Catholics, Nazi Germany was a religious state. The Nazis drew upon both Christianity and Pagan influences. Nazi paraphernelia proudly proclaimed Gott mit uns (God with us). Nazi propaganda routinely referred to political enemies as atheists as a means to vilify them, and Hitler himself is reported by at least one close aid to have confirmed his Catholicism late into the war.

    Not only has the Pope bought into the lie that the Nazis were atheists, but apparently he has forgotten the history of an organization he was part of, both as a member of the Hitler Youth and as a member of an anti-aircraft gun crew.

    Speaking the lie to the Pope's claim are the various Nazi artifacts with Christian iconography and messaging on them.

    Perhaps the Pope should have talked about Stalin. After all, the Soviet Union was an atheist totalitarian regime. But perhaps Stalin did not suit the Pope's purpose for various unknown reasons.

  • (8)

    Some housekeeping notes: is a newborn, and like any baby, it will sometimes squawk or cry or cough things up. But it's hoped it will grow bigger and smarter very quickly, and charm us all. If you have any ideas for site features or suggestions on how to administer and highlight content, we would love to hear them.

    At any rate, the site is up and running. Please feel free to poke around, find a comfy spot and enjoy yourself.

  • (8)

    "If you want equality, that means you hate me."

    Why is the Women's Rights discussion framed this way sometimes? I think about other groups striving for equality where that argument is seldom, if ever, seriously framed in this way.

    Why are we always on the verge of apologizing that we don't hate someone whenever we point out an inequity?

  • (8)

    With the Democratic National Committee seat up for grabs and the party looking for a direction, I threw a tarot reading on the next four years and alas it is not that good. But as the saying goes, "you lie about the cards and they'll start lying to you."

    Ok, so here goes:

    The Significator this is what the Tarot reading speaks to: The Knight of Swords. Hasty action. The knight charges, sword drawn. The hothead. Emotionalism. Not thinking things through.

    The Democrats are on the run and flailing and will continue in that mode.

    Covering Card, this covers him: The Empress. A higher arcana card, again signifying a turn of the wheel of karma. She sits next to the Emperor - in this case the Bush Administration, playing a subordinate role, and not challenging his power or authority let alone the legitimacy of his decisions. Her power comes from his. To oppose him is to undercut herself. She feels as long as she is his mate, she can get something out of it. She does not question the power structure.

    The Democrats see themselves as subordinate to the Republicans and will continue in that role.

    Crossing Card, behind the scenes - everything has a secret side: The Knight of Wands. Not so secret a side for it is the mirror of the Knight of Swords. Hasty action. Emotionalism. Not thinking things through. Two knights in the center spot of the tarot means this will be fast and big. Jealousy and narrow mindedness are the traditional meanings.

    The strategy of not having a strategy. If this had been the tarot for the US invasion of Iraq, I would have said "right."

    The Foundation, this is below him on which he stands:The World. Another karmic card of the higher arcana. This is the foundation and this card means completion. It might even mean capitulation - a worrisome thing to progressives, or it may mean a long-term strategy or of retrenchment. More on this at the end.

    The Democrats are approaching a watershed.

    Behind, this is finished business:The Nine of Pentacles, sometimes meaning an independent woman. The meaning is highly shaded by the Empress who is the dependent woman - even though she has great power. That coupled with the World in the foundation position suggests that the Democrats are going to wholesale split from their roots and become "soft" Republicans - kinder, gentler, Republicans.

    The Democrats will abandon their historic vision.

    Above, what is hanging in the air: Queen of Cups. The woman of heart. The party leadership may have no strategy of its own, but there are people in the party who do have a vision and they will be coalescing. not now and not even in 2006, but by 2008 the Democratic regulars will be different Issues outside the United States and outside of US hegemony will change the United States and the course the Republicans have taken will not speak to the electorate - but since the Democrats look like kinder, gentler, Republicans, they will not have the clout or vision to set a new agenda.

    There will be a shift away from the Democratic party, but not toward Republicans.

    In Front, this is right in front. Ace of Wands. New beginnings. This will sound absurd, but there will be a new political party, you heard it here first, folks, and I don't believe my ears, but the cards are saying that. The names may stay the same for a while, but a new sweep akin to FDR and Reagan is brewing and it will not be international issues as much as monetary issues. I see this coming largely out of the Generation X-ers who will be entering the public arena not just as votes, but in positions of power.

    Even if the Democrats become "neo-Republicans," the Progressives will walk and form something much more than a splinter party. It may well look like a Ross Perot deal played full volume.

    The Outcome, the future: The Seven of Pentacles. Concern for the Harvest. The Ace of Wands, the power left untapped is what the figures leans upon as the crops grow. Once again, the people who are no longer represented by the main political party (parties?) will build their own party (formal or informal) and like in 1992, they will force the rightward looking politicians back toward the center, even as the Democrats shift rightward.

    In short, the Democrat leadership will lead to the right and end up looking back over their collective shoulders only to see they are walking off by themselves.

    Meaning: This tarot is very unexpected and I had no idea it would take this turn. The leadership of the party is unable to articulate a vision. Too much power would be lost and the interest groups have all the politicians in their pockets and they are running scared.

    The electorate has shown it is willing to go, en mass, for a viable third party candidate. If we look to the election on 1912 and 1992, the third party pushed the Democrats into power, but in both cases, for better or worse, the Democrats were distinguishable from their opposition.

    If the Chairman of the DNC drives the party rightward or does not have a clear and compelling vision, there will be a power vacuum that a third party, in name or flying the banner of an existing party, will hoist.

    Who those leaders are, the tarot does not say, but they will be a decidedly younger and less conservative crowd.

    The 2006 election will not go the way the Democrats want, but by 2008 and 2112, the political landscape will be unrecognizable and these two parties may well be as outdated as the Whigs.


  • (8)

    On February 27, 1933, a mad man set fire to the German Parliament Building, the Reichstag, shocking the German nation. The arsonist was proclaimed a Communist and as everyone knows, Godless Communism was a threat to peace loving Christian Nations -- like Germany.

    The leader of Germany at the time was Adolph Hitler.

    Contrary to what many people have been lead to believe, Hitler did not become dictator through a coup d'état. He came to power through strictly democratic means. He asked for special powers to deal with terrorism and the German people, reeling with shock, granting him powers to deal with the crisis -- powers he never relinquished.

    George W. Bush is no Hitler, but the parallels of a nation surrendering its liberties to a government is not new.

    Who can blame the German people? The Reichstag was akin to Capitol Hill's House and Senate, although not on nearly so grant a scale, yet the psychological dagger went into the heart of the German people. The reaction of the German people ought to be understandable to Americans who went through 9/11. And as far as the Reichstag goes, rumor has it that the fourth hijacked plane that went down in Pennsylvania was headed either for the Capitol Rotunda or even the White House, itself. If the White House was knocked out, the President could have alternatively gone to the Pentagon and we know the hijacked DC plane that circled for about an hour was crashed right at the helicopter pad where Bush's chopper would have brought him in case of that. This 9/11 plot was dark indeed.

    Homeland Security was important in the Fatherland. Instead of the Patriot Act, the Germans pushed through The Enabling Act and gave up freedoms that were not restored until after the Second World War was over and Germany had invaded any number of countries to protect its security.

    In the meantime, Germans openly vented hatred toward Communists and passed legislation against non-Christian minorities, especially Jews, and homosexuals. Today we see states attempting to pass legislation against homosexuals and proclaiming a national agenda the pushes Christian values ahead of citizens who do not share the vision of the fundamentalist who hold sway over the Republican Party.

    The point is not to say Bush is any Hitler. Rather, it is for us to pause and think how it happens that people give up their freedoms to a leader who says he needs special powers to deal with a crisis.

    But terrorism is real, say some. The President needs to deal with this threat. It is for a good reason that we surrender our liberties.

    Can you think of anyone ever surrendering their liberties for a bad reason?


  • (8)

    Who'da thunk that so much crap could be wrapped around a holiday symbolized by a heart? Is it about romance or crass commercialism? Is it about anti-war protests or tacky gift-giving? Is it about love or about expectations? The award-winners here explore these questions, and more.

    This being the inaugural year for the Feminist Valentine Awards, we were able to be the most idealistic and democratic and give awards to everyone who bothered to ping in here with something at least somewhat relevant. In future years we'll probably give in to bribes and threats of torture, but this year we're blessed with relative obscurity. Which means we have 13 awards (and one troll trinket) to mete out here. Award winners are hereby pressured encouraged to publish their nifty award graphic with a link back to this post. (The troll can just shove it where it might tickle something.)

    So here are the 2005 Awards:

    The Snarkiest Rant Award goes to Amanda of Mouse Words, for The Valentine's Day post....

    Balloon bouquets might be my absolute favorite of gifts I would never want. Well, maybe second to huge teddy bears. Or statues that look like they want a hug. Flowers seem like a waste of money to me, but at least they are attractive. But balloon bouquets cost the same and are appalling and corny. I suppose the idea behind them is that the sender wants to be romantic but also wants to convey the message that he/she may be in love, but that doesn't mean they aren't a goofy, humorous sort. Which would be okay if ever there was a balloon bouquet that was funny, but there's just not. It's like the Hawaiian shirt of romantic gifts--the wearer of the Hawaiian shirt thinks he's a devil-may-care sort, but the rest of us are thinking, "Dork."

    The Good Riddance Blog award goes to Lauren of Feministe, for Don't Send Me No Flowers, I Ain't Dead Yet....

    I'd rather think of Valentine's Day itself as a massacre of another sort: hearts, relationships, and unrequited love slayed as easily as gangsters with guns hanging in a garage on February afternoon. Disappointment, really, and not because I feel left out of the holiday or anything, but that people so invest their relationships and self-worth into this holiday that most are disappointed. And thus, I am disappointed in them for being so ridiculous.

    The Cut the Bull Award goes to North of are we there yet?, for sex for roses....

    Valentine's Day is all about keeping all those roles in place. Women provide sex and want romance and money; men provide romance and money and want sex. Eew. I hate thinking of my relationships, romantic or not, in that transactional mode. The relational part of being human is really strong, and really wonderful, and I think it cheapens and sours it to talk about it like it's a widget exchange. Not to mention the way these enforced gender roles damage women, damage men, contribute to sexual violence, and completely fuck over anyone who's not straight.

    The Best Marxist Romance Analysis award goes to Trish Wilson, for A Feminist Analysis of Valentine's Day and A Feminist Perspective on Valentine's Day, Part II....

    Maybe this is a class thing, and class is definitely a feminist issue. White, middle-class feminists have been criticized for being classist. It's a fair criticism. I wouldn't want to get a rose from a gas station because, I admit, I'm a snob. I'm solidly middle-class now (at least until Bush's "reforms" take effect. I could sink any moment now.), and I admit I have sometimes had a case of class snobbery. I like flowers from a flower shop, even if it's the flower shop at the local grocery store. The flowers at the grocery store in my neighborhood are more fresh than the roses at the gas station, and there is more variety. They are often on sale. It's convenient. You can buy your milk, bag of Reese's Cups, condoms, and porterhouse steaks, and stop for a bouquet of field flowers that are likely to be a dollar off without having to go near a gas station. One-stop-shopping is your friend.

    (Also worth peeking at: For Cheapskates on Valentine's Day, about a gas station's alternative offerings to the traditional florist bouquet, and More Valentine News, about a bachelor's desperate (pathetic) attempt to attract true love by climbing into a plastic bubble.)

    The Books Just Don't Compare award goes to Ravenmn of Fly By Night, for this February 15 post....

    When I was a teenager, I spent my summers working shitty jobs. One summer, I worked in the cornfields de-tassling corn. A couple of summers, I worked in a corn canning factory pulling 12-hour shifts. During those long days I spent hours on end constructing elaborate fantasies about my dream life with whatever man was the focus of my current crush. I'm not talking about three or four minute visions about what might be possible. Nope. I constructed entire lifetimes for hours on end. I included career changes, I furnished apartments and houses, I provided children and storylines for years or more.

    These elaborate fictions owed as much to my vivid imagination as they did to the phenomenal boredom that comes from stuffing corncobs into slots on an assembly line at a rate of 60 ears per minute or more.

    The Warm and Fuzzy, Yet Rational award goes to Elayne Riggs of Pen-Elayne on the Web, for Valentine's Day - A Feminist An Elayne-ist Analysis....

    And now Robin gets me choccie boxes (or Godiva during more prosperous years). Chocolate is lovely for the old endorphins, and the fat content of this most comfortable of comfort foods (yes, I am planning to watch many of these shows, why do you ask?) is particularly welcome during the cold weather.

    The Best Expression of "What-ever!" award goes to D.E.D. of DED Space, for Roses are red, men are retail targets....

    The only time I have ever let myself be hurt by one of these observances was when I took a woman who has been like a mother to me to lunch one Mother's Day, and the woman waiting our table handed us both roses, saying to me, "I know you must be a wonderful mother." I wanted to slap her until she bled, because, at the time, my childlessness was the source of extreme emotional pain for me. Later, when I thought about it, I wanted to slap her all over again because, for all she knew, I had beaten my kids with belts or driven them into the lake.

    The Best High School Epiphany that Changed Everything award goes to Carrie of Spiral Staircase, for her Valentine's Post....

    Even though my feelings were hurt that day and I felt useless having not received a valentine, I learned a lot too. Like when I left the library and went to basketball practice, none of the girls had time to talk about valentines. When I went home that night, my parents asked me about my classes, not if I had gotten a valentine that day. I stopped talking to that boy, and the next week no one mentioned valentine's day at all. It didn't matter anymore. Because what happens on Valentine's day is ultimately useless if it doesn't happen on every other day of the year. If the love - or in high school terms, the fun or the excitement - that fuels the relationship dries up, the roses are good only to celebrate the ending of the relationship.

    The Funniest Heartfelt Bitch Rant award goes to Chaos Theory, for The Five Commandments of Valentine's Day....

    I admit it: I don't even necessarily want a guy to prove his love on that date so much as I just want to "keep up with the Joneses" for ONCE in my life. I want to flaunt flowers in the faces of people with flowers. I want the candy, even though to be honest I hate those candies with the goop inside and don't even eat them. I want to be shown off on Valentine's Day in a fancy restaurant NOT with my parents, wearing a skimpy dress, and finally feel like I'm having the holiday Hallmark always promised me, so I can be good enough, hot enough, and goshdarnit, SOMEBODY LOVES ME AND LOOK, HE SPENT BUTTLOADS TO PROVE IT TO THE WORLD!

    The award for Best Short Ode to Everyday Love goes to Pesky'Apostrophe, for Call me....

    As I am no longer single, I'm not quite as bitter. I mean, no one wants to be told what day they have to officially celebrate their love, right? Why don't people celebrate every day? We do. I think most normal couples do. It's not like you wake up on Valentine's Day and think, "Wow, I really love Mr. Fish! I think I'll be extra special nice and lovey to him today instead of spitting in his coffee!"

    The Best Admonishing Advice award goes to Jane Hamsher of firedoglake, for Some Valentine's Day Observations....

    1. He will not present me with a box of chocolates as a gift after I have announced I am on Atkins
    2. He will not download tons of porn onto my computer then think I won't find out if he empties the cache
    3. He won't show up for a date with a box of Viagra and leave it out in the bathroom....

    The award for the Most Romantic Anti-Valentine's Day Blog goes to mistress of epigraph, for february's b-grade holiday....

    I'll start with the lover. Mine lives 700 miles away from me. I am not ashamed to tell you that I am painfully incomplete without him here. When I venture into the world, I do so in my vulnerable alone-ness. In this silent solitude, my protection is gone. My shield from insult and violation, a shield upon which I had come to depend in its comforting familiarity, is impossible without him.

    How is this so? What am I missing? Is he a line-backer looking boyfriend, quick to defend my honor at the drop of a hat, the slightest sign of disresepct to his beloved? Is he feverishly at the ready to come to blows should a stranger cross a forbidden boundary? Well, not quite. In fact, upon taking notice of a threatening stranger, he often inquires about my martial arts background: "You can kick his ass, right?"

    The Stuff Isn't Enough Blog award goes to to sundre, for valentine's eve....

    But now? I don't like the popular holiday nearly as much. Because it isn't about glee, it's about the stuff. And the having of a significant other. And I'm not really into either. While I enjoy small doses of theobroma, I'm not a kid anymore, and I can buy my own (decent) chocolate instead of waiting for the next holiday to swing by. I prefer live plants in pots to those in vases. Lace is itchy. The only jewelry I really wear is a necklace I got from my aunt when I was twelve. And I don't believe I've ever been unsingle on V-day.

    Unsingle! Yes! That's the thing. While a guy would be, well, handy, it's not a necessary. (Really, really handy. There's a better word for this, I'm sure, as I'm not talking about skills with a toolbox. I can change my own lightbulbs and kill spiders and everything. But still. Handy.) I like being a complete person on my own. Being "with" isn't on my to-do list.

    Of course, what would Feminist Valentine Awards be without the femiphobes? This inaugural year kicks kicks off rather strongly, I believe, with the awarding of the Black-Hearted Misogynist Prize Ass Award to recognize the feminist-hating stridency of a poor little boy who, because his site scarcely registers on Technorati and I would not want to change that, shall remain nameless, but who actually attempts to paint violence against women as just so-many myths perpetrated by "the gender feminism victim cult," and even makes the claim that more men aren't getting married because of marriage license taxes that go to women's shelters. So much for "love conquers all," hmmm? Other thorns in his side include sympathy for battered women (and none for the batterers), lack of kudos for men who protect women from violence (perpetrated by other women, no doubt), rape statistics and myriad other ways real men like him are oppressed by women. So sad. All that Levitra and nobody to share it with.

    Anyway, any feminist worth her salt draws the ire of misogynists every now and then. Thus we are validated.

    So there are the winners. Read, learn, laugh, sigh, perhaps shed a tear.

  • (8)

    If life wasn't interesting enough, what with the conservatives' contract on America, we have this news (courtesy of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press):

    Reintroduction of ERA Resolutions in Congress: March 15, 2005

    On Tuesday, March 15, the ERA will be reintroduced in the 109th Congress by chief sponsors Sen. Edward Kennedy, and Representatives Carolyn Maloney and James A. Leach. A press conference, open to the public, will be held at 2pm on the Cannon Terrace of the U.S. Capitol. Also, Rep. Robert Andrews is expected to reintroduce his "3-state strategy" resolution on the same day.

    After the press conference, from 3 to 5pm, the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) will meet, this time in the Rayburn House Office Building so that member organizations' representatives will be able to attend both events.

    THE ERA CAMPAIGNER, Issue #18, February 25, 2005

    Get involved

    Here are some resources to get active:

    For information on how to get actively involved in the ERA Campaign Network and the campaign to achieve the Equal Rights Amendment, contact your state coordinator, National Coordinator Jennifer Macleod, or Outreach Coordinator Dorie Rothman. Click here for contact information on all our coordinators: Contacts

    ERA Campaign Network's Georgia coordinator, Idella Moore, maintains a dynamic interactive website that invites ERA supporters, no matter where in the US they live, to sign an ERA petition and become participating "members." Take a look:

    For information on the ERA ratification campaign in FLORIDA, visit
    For more extensive history, background, and analysis related to the ERA and the 3-state strategy, visit the website of the National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) ERA Task Force, (For additional information on the NCWO, of which the ERA Campaign Network is a member, visit their website:

    You get one guess who's going to fight this tooth and nail. Maybe they will get the loony Swifties to produce a smear campaign saying that women are just a marginal extremist special interest group.

  • (8)

    I did some digging and found a Power Point presentation called The Quest for Equality that contains many interesting slides, but one of them was very compelling. Authored by Tom P. Bolles, Kimberly S. Conway, and Doris A. Kahler, I really think everyone ought to go look at this site if they have Power Point on their machine, or something that can read Power Point. Excellent research and information!

    It shows the states (in red, no less) that ratified the women's right to vote, and in green those that did not ratify the right of women to vote.

    Actually the authors show the states ratifying the amendment year by year. the final picture is 1920, when women's suffrage became part of the United States Constitution.

    Very telling.

  • (8)

    How do you deal with stupidity? How do you debate with fools? How do you reason with clowns?

    These are the problems progressives are facing in the current political climate. We're dealing with a conservative cabal in power who believe in willful ignorance, who believe in institutionalized bigotry, who advocate for the overthrow of laws in order to support their authority.

    It would be scary enough if this were just a domestic issue. The conservatives' determination to dismantle the social fabric that holds this nation together is threatening enough.

    It would be scary enough if this were just a military issue. The conservatives' determination to play the bully in the world and alienate all frienship and goodwill towards this country of ours is dangerous enough.

    But this is also an economic issue. Tom Friedman says, "The World is Flat." Another way of putting it is:

    The rest of the world is not going to wait for us to get our shit together.

    With the trade deficit rising, with our government's deficit spending rising, with both deficits being financed by foreign banks and countries, the crunch is on. With peak oil now reached, the crunch is on.

    We need to get our asses in gear.

    But to hear the conservatives tell it, our biggest crises are: Terri Schiavo, judges who do not heel to Christian fundamentalism, and gays getting married. Move on down the list and they're freaked out about science being taught in schools. They're freaked out about critical thinking in colleges. They're freaked out about unmarried women obtaining birth control. They're freaked out about poor people going bankrupt. They're freaked out about whether scriptures are carved into government buildings.

    Meanwhile the world is kicking our asses in trade. The world is kicking our asses in education. The world is kicking our asses up and down the line.

    What do the conservatives have to say about that?

    Nothing but freaking out about things people do.

    Stupid is as stupid does, people. The conservatives are doing stupid quite magnificently. What's scary is that they're trying to institutionalize it into our laws, into our judiciary, so that our children will not be taught science unless it conforms with the Bible, so that our Constitution must be trashed so it conforms to their fundamentalist dogmas, so that we are treated as Americas greatest enemy. Meanwhile they've broken out the government credit card and are spending bigger than any Democrat ever dreamed, and they're threatening to default on ever paying it back. And they're getting worse. They're dragging the entire nation into a new Dark Ages.

    Stupid is as stupid does.