If we make it through December

Today’s post brought to you by my 7th graders lovely holiday chorus concert, a marvelous surprise in the mail from Rose, running water to clean up 7 year old’s vomit and cat puke, and new Patreon supporter Angie. 

Add this to the Killjoy Christmas playlist.

I feel ya, Merle.

I had thought today I could pay November rent but then did math this morning and realized paying the full amount would leave us $75 for gas and groceries until next Thursday  – during a week with kids home on break. That’s not going to work. I’ll pay part of it. Everything else is caught up except for rent! I’m calling that a somewhat-success.


Littlest kiddo home sick today and sad to be missing fun activities at school. Today’s activity was a Sun Welcoming Centerpieces for the Solstice. I’m delighted to see Paganism being practiced in public schools. Finally, my traditions are being honored en mass!
(It’s funny,right? Public schools are being very conscientious about not focusing on religious holidays but inadvertently using Pagan themes as substitute. I love it)
Anyway, since today is Yule and he’s home sick, we’ll make out own Sun Welcoming Baskets here. We don’t have much else planned. Husbeast is working evening shift tonight and older kids are busy with other things so having any sort of Yule celebration isn’t happening. Guess we’ll have to wait until that other day everyone gets off for their holiday.







Exhibit 1 of why I’m not allowed to be in charge of the holiday playlist

Today’s post is brought to you by generous supporter Marisa (thank you!), the little fake tree we got on Freecycle last year, and a string of red lights my Mom didn’t want anymore.

“Father Christmas , give us some money. Don’t mess around with those silly toys”

As my mother said at last year’s holiday gathering, “Oh,my lord. These songs are all so sad!”

Sorry, Mom. You raised a killjoy. I like my Christmas songs to have drunk and/or jobless dads and no chimneys Santa can come down.

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas, have yourself a good time.
But remember the kids who got nothin’ , while you’re drinkin’ down your wine




the hurrier I go the behinder I get


Actually, a Monday morning reminder.
This is so fitting,considering how behind I feel today. I got hit with food poisoning and then some annoying staph infection. I am so far behind on everything. Usually I have my act together in at least one aspect of life but no, everything is a mess. Even my six year old who is oblivious to chaos commented this morning on the state of the house and the general messiness of life.

Last Monday, I posted this picture on Instagram of my weekly spread in my bullet journal (my journal is real a combo art/bullet/regular journal but whatever). It’s upside down. The journal itself is right side up but when I made the spread I didn’t realize I had it upside down. Ugh.17499340_10158358296755487_2709874769297363086_n
I commented that I hoped it wasn’t an indication of how my week was going to go. It was.

This Monday? I can’t find my journal anywhere. I feel like part of my brain is missing. My journal has become THE most important tool in managing my ADHD and life.

I think I’m going to take this week to get my collective shit together and hopefully I’ll find all the pieces of my brain while doing it.

Here’s my song of the day, “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want This Time” by The Smiths. I’m feeling way nostalgic for my 80s music today. Maybe it has something to do with watching Stranger Things with my 12 year old this weekend. He has been begging to watch horror movies. Stranger Things was my compromise.

Net Neutrality,DeVos confirmation, #NoDAPL

I had this conversation yesterday:
Me: Blogging is soooooo frickin’ depressing right now. If I’m not talking about how poor I am, I’m talking about the garbage fire America is. Or telling people how to try to put out the garbage fire.

Friend: Yeah…
*long pause*
I miss the days when you blogged about art involving clitorises. The Song of the Day was nice,too.

In honor of that conversation, here are a list of links about how America is a garbage fire and a song of the day. You can google clitoris art on your own.

This Sure Feels Like the End of Net Neutrality– The FCC took steps last week towards cutting the Lifeline program for low income folks that has helped tremendously in bridging the digital divide.

Check out: Pod Save America, a new podcast that tracks the misdeeds and nonsense of this new administration. (latest episode briefly also mentions the cutting of Lifeline programs)

Also, here’s an earlier post of mine that explains why it’s important for low income people to have access to the Internet. It isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

ICYMI: DeVos was confirmed for Sec of Education. Here are the Senators who voted for her who are up for re-election in 2018:

Flake AZ
Wicker MS
Fischer NE
Heller NV
Corker TN
Cruz TX
Hatch UT
Barrasso WY

Don’t let them keep their positions.

This piece written before DeVos’ confirmation is now a scary reality – 10 Public High School Teachers Explain Why They’re Worried…

I’m also urging everyone to take some time today to make a public declaration on your kids’ or local public school’s Facebook page (if they allow comments) to let them know how much you value their contribution and support the job they do. A lot of educators need to hear something good today.


It turns out that the so-called president had no idea that an executive order he signed gave Steve Bannon a seat on the National Security Council and he’s mad about that. Also, no one can figure out how to work the light switches in The White House.

“We’ve Woken Up”: What It’s Like to be LGBTQ Under Trump – lordy

Read about all the new ways our food policy may change and regress now

On the #NoDAPL front, the Army Corp of Engineers granted an easement that allows pipeline construction to go forward. So-Called Pres said that the DAPL isn’t controversial and “he hasn’t had one call”  to which anyone opposing DAPL responded, “Uh,hey there,buddy…YOU SHUT THE COMMENT LINE DOWN SO WE COULDN’T CALL!”.

Taking many deep breaths right now.

Here is Dallas Goldtooth talking about what the next legal steps tribes might take from here

And on that note, here’s my song of the day. No significance or relevance to anything…it just happened to be the last song I heard.

This post has absolutely nothing to do with being poor or anything else that’s depressing

Nah, still not talking about money issues. Instead I’m going to tell you about books & reading I am doing and want to do.  Ok? Just this once. I’ll get back to talking about being poor tomorrow probably.

True to my polygamist style of reading, I’m currently reading a few books at the same time right now.
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil .

I always sign up for way too many reading challenges and while I probably do end up meeting the challenges, I end up losing track and don’t update anywhere online. So, this year I’m scaling back my reading challenges to just Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge ,and What’s In A Name?, a challenge I’ve done every year since it began (I don’t know when. Years now). I guess I’m off to a good start, at least with the Read Harder challenge. The Nix  works for “#2. read a debut novel” and Speak is “#10, read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location”.

I might sign up for the Books N’ Tunes Challenge, too but this is how I read every single book so I guess it’s not much of a real challenge. I sometimes make an entire playlist based on the book I’m reading.


Image result for monster knits for little monsters

I also picked up this Monster Knits for Little Monsters book yesterday at the library and I want to knit all the things in it. I’m having a hard time narrowing it down to one or even five. It looks like squishy little grandbaby will have a solid hat collection for next winter (planning on knitting a size up for him to grow in to).  Lucky boy.

I wonder if I can find a reading challenge that involves crafty books? Hmmm…..








PAF Playlist: Stand up….we shall not be moved, except for a child with no socks and shoes

What with all the holey shoe issues this week, this song kept popping into my head.

This week has me thinking about how my current poor AF circumstances are both enormous and small at the same time. I’m thinking about how fortunate I am but how unsettling that good fortune is knowing that so many people are in the same place and much worse.

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Do you think I could crowdfund to become a philanthropist? People would get behind that,right? The Poor Philanthropist.

(I LOVE oxymorons, by the way)

I wouldn’t be a charitable philanthropist,though. Charity is this concept that assumes that the person giving is more elevated than the person receiving. I wouldn’t want to be about that. I’m right there with ya’ll.
(I think I just mangled another quote right there but the exact wording and who said it first is escaping me)

“And I love how you love the people as much as self .I love it how you want redistribution of the wealth”

Now this is my idea of a love song. Happy belated Valentine’s Day, folks.

Yo, life and debt, light a cigarette smoke the stress
Take a deep breath baby, let’s rearrange the mess we’ve inherited
Alienated from what is rightfully yours and mine, land
Is life, money is time paid for labor
Working eight to five, sometimes six seven eight
We come home and barely know the neighbors
Bills are usually late
Interest accumulates at a usury rate
Collection agency waits from
Pay check to next one, budget like a noose

Working while we sing the proletariat blues
On 501-C3 community plantations
Non profit sector propped up to kill the movement
For the changes in production relations
But woman you’re my comrade, ride and die, revolution-making mother earth
Standing with me in the grocery line
While I’m paying with a jar of pennies, nickels, and dimes

And I love how you don’t like art without a message
I love it how you call some fellas on they fetish
Third world sister, never sacrificing substance for style
But stylish with a golden type smile
I love it how you organize with other strong sisters
Love it how you talk about tearing down the system
Like a soldier, my dialectical reflection
“Yes” is the answer to your question

Life and debt, write another check to the landlord
No time to dwell on all the things we can’t afford
Got a baby in the womb, a soldier for the future that we’re fighting for
Concrete conditions that I’m writin for
The payback, it’s way past due
And they say that the masses ain’t ready but
We know that ain’t true
You and I both children of Filipino immigrants
From the same island, our ancestors smiling
Cuz we found one another in a strange land struggling
Moms tryin’ to tell us not to protest instead pray for peace
But that ain’t the nature of the beast
So lady grab the bullhorn and take it to the streets
Yellin power to the people, el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido
Til the wealth is spread equal
You 21st century Gabriela Silang
Fierce like Lorena with a rifle in her arms

And I love how you love the people as much as self
I love it how you want redistribution of the wealth
Third world sister, never sacrificing substance for style
But stylish with a golden type smile
I love it how you organize with other strong sisters
Love it how you talk about tearing down the system
Like a soldier, my dialectical reflection
“Yes” is the answer to your question
Life and debt

[Songs for Social Justice] Free Nelson Mandela

On my regular ol’ blog, I post often about music. I apply music to life and think of it as making up a soundtrack to my own life and the world’s consciousness. It would seem strange if I didn’t carry the music over to this blog, so once in a while, I’ll share some songs that apply to social justice.

Nelson Mandela’s passing calls for commemoration in song. There have been many songs written to both call for justice for Mandela during his imprisonment and celebrate the social justice he achieved for those oppressed by apartheid in South Africa. I’m choosing this one purely for the context of what a song about a political and/or social issue can do.

Dorian Lynskey writes:

The Special AKA’s Jerry Dammers first encountered Mandela’s name when, in 1983, he attended a concert at Alexandra Palace in London to mark the imprisoned activist’s 65th birthday. During the headline set of South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, the crowd chanted “Free Mandela!”

Since settling in the US in the early 1960s, Masekela and his fellow South African exile (and later wife) Miriam Makeba had worked hard to publicise the injustice in their homeland, helped by the singer and campaignerHarry Belafonte.

Back home, music became an important means of inspiring and unifying the anti-apartheid movement. In 1964, the ANC activist and songwriter Vuyisile Mini went to the gallows singing some of the popular freedom songs he had written.


Some western musicians took an early stand against apartheid. The Musicians’ Union, in the UK, declared a boycott after the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, and the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Walker Brothers were among those who refused to perform in South Africa.

But compared with Vietnam and the American civil rights movement, apartheid remained a niche interest, even on the left. Gil Scott-Heron’s 1976 song Johannesburg was a rare call for solidarity: “They may not get the news, but they need to know we’re on their side.”

It was Steve Biko, not Mandela, who became the first anti-apartheid icon. When the young leader of the radical black consciousness movement died in police custody in 1977, he inspired songs by the folksinger Tom Paxton, the prog-rock star Peter Hammill, the reggae artists Steel Pulse and Tappa Zukie, and, tardily but most famously, Peter Gabriel.

“Bono called and told me that U2 had learned about apartheid and Africa from the Biko song,” Gabriel later said.

That same year, 1980, the UN finally approved a cultural boycott of South Africa, naming Mandela in a resolution for the first time.

The name was important. The ANC had been calling for the release of Mandela and his fellow political prisoners for years. Around the world, numerous petitions had been signed and tributes paid. But public awareness was stuck at a certain level.

In 1982, the 20th anniversary of Mandela’s arrest, the ANC’s leader-in-exile, Oliver Tambo, decided to relaunch the anti-apartheid campaign bywith an increasing focus on Mandela, effectively making him an international celebrity.

Awareness could not be generated overnight, as Mandela later wrily acknowledged in his autobiography: “I am told that when ‘Free Mandela’ posters went up in London, most young people thought my Christian name was ‘Free’.”

Dammers came home from Alexandra Palace in July 1983 with an armful of leaflets and an idea for a song. After the bitter demise of the Specials two years earlier, he had convened a new band, the Special AKA.

Their debut album, In the Studio, was a brooding, heavy affair and the song Nelson Mandela (better known by its US title, Free Nelson Mandela) was intended as a “happy ending”.

He invited members of the Specials and the Beat to join vocalist Stan Campbell on the chorus to create a mood of joyous solidarity. Produced by Elvis Costello, it was as optimistic as Gabriel’s song was solemn.

Tambo’s Free Mandela campaign could not have asked for more. The song was embraced by the UN, ANC and black South Africans, who sang it at demonstrations and played it over loudspeakers, even though the record was banned in the country. The chorus was so simple and catchy that anyone could sing it and remember its message.

Dammers put Mandela’s face on the front of the sleeve and filled the back with information gleaned from anti-apartheid campaigners.

From then on, the momentum became unstoppable. Dammers founded the British wing of Artists Against Apartheid, which brought him intoconflict with Paul Simon over the Graceland album: a bitter row which at least helped raise awareness.

The anti-apartheid movement became one of the decade’s causes célèbres. Stevie Wonder released the bluntly titled It’s Wrong (Apartheid)and was arrested during a protest outside the South African embassy in Washington DC.

The British reggae singer Eddy Grant recorded Gimme Hope Jo’Anna(Jo’Anna being Johannesburg). Many artists, from the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest to the Irish folksinger Christy Moore, continued to honour Biko.

Among school-age listeners in 1986, perhaps the most effective song was Spitting Image’s I’ve Never Met a Nice South African, cleverly placed on the B-side of the No 1 novelty hit The Chicken Song.

Masekela released two instant anthems calling for Mandela’s release, Tomorrow and Mandela (Bring Him Back Home), and Makeba wroteSoweto Blues, joining a groundswell of voices that had not existed when they began campaigning more than 20 years earlier.

Predictably, all of these songs fell foul of South African censors, and artists inside the country had to be more subtle. Dan Heymann, a reluctant army conscript, wrote the brutally satirical Weeping for His Band Bright Blue. The censors failed to spot a brief musical reference to Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the banned ANC anthem, and Weeping reached No 1 on the government’s own radio station.

The multiracial band Savuka were more direct. Their song Asimbonanga, explicitly dedicated to Mandela, Biko and other activists, led to repeated arrests and raided concerts.

All this activity, and the inspiring example of Live Aid, led to 1988’s 70th birthday concert for Mandela at Wembley Arena, conceived by Dammers and the Simple Minds frontman, Jim Kerr, who wrote the well-meaning but windy Mandela Day for the occasion.

African musicians and dedicated campaigners shared the stage with sympathetic superstars on a night that peaked with the iconic trio of songs; Biko, Sun City and Nelson Mandela.

A subsequent survey found that three-quarters of 16- to 24-year-olds now knew who Mandela was and wanted him released: remarkable progress in just a few years.

The follow-up concert to mark Mandela’s liberation two years later had the advantage of starring the man himself. He took the stage after dark, greeted by thousands of cigarette lighters and the sound of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, then went straight to the airport to fly home and continue his work.

Dammers learned that Mandela had just one quibble with the Special AKA song. The line about his captors forcing him to wear painfully ill-fitting shoes had been taken from anti-apartheid publicity that turned out to be inaccurate.

It’s testament to Mandela’s integrity that, even when his own freedom was at stake, he felt that the truth required no embellishment.


Piety and Poverty: Nelson Mandela on poverty.   > > > Click image!