Dance, [Cowboy, Militiaman, Cavalryman]

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics,Sad — posted by Anwyn on February 22, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

A few days ago I posted at Electric Venom about the demise of the tradition of Chief Illiniwek, until last night the mascot of the University of Illinois. After a pitched battle between Indian confederations grievance-mongers, university professors, and students and administration, dragging on many years, the NCAA last year set sports sanctions for UI, and the board announced last week that the chief would be discontinued. A comment from a graduate of U of I currently working there was helpful in tracing the scope of the decision–that it wasn’t just the NCAA, but the fact that Illinois’s legislature and governor were against retaining the chief as well, which the News-Gazette’s article does mention.

I got my master’s degree at Illinois, and this was simmering when I was there too, though I have not been as emotionally involved as the majority of undergrads who go to games and get attached to school traditions, and I don’t know that I agree with ProphetJoe’s suggestion that there should have been a public vote. (Or his suggestion that the board was against the Chief because some of them are Michigan grads, although the idea does make me chuckle.) Who would vote? All citizens of Illinois? All students and faculty? All residents of Champaign-Urbana?

Somebody will correct me if I get any of the legalese wrong, but it sounds like the legislature was more than happy to let the NCAA do their dirty work for them. If the legislature had enacted this itself, theoretically the U could’ve sued the state government for abridgement of freedom of speech, but how does that work when the suing institution is funded in part by the government? Doesn’t that make them a state actor themselves? The NCAA, however, has in previous cases, bewilderingly, been ruled both a state actor and NOT a state actor for purposes of Constitutional law, and I don’t know what the precedent currently is. I do not like that it has come to this; while I don’t think tradition should be the sole arbiter of what is retained, I don’t think the Chief was hurting enough people that he should have been steamrolled. Sensibilities, maybe. People, no. (more…)

The Rant: PSA: Flu is Worse than Childbirth

Filed under:It's My Life,Rants — posted by Anwyn @ 12:19 pm

A comparison between childbirth (which I’ve successfully navigated), stomach flu (which I had last spring) and regular flu (which I have now):

Yes, labor contractions are painful. They are also relatively short and separated by periods of blissful relief. Stomach flu, by contrast, keeps you at a medium-level nausea for as much as an hour at a time, and the violent retching required to reach the “relief” stage is dreaded almost as much as the relief is anticipated. After which the long spell of nausea returns. Haha, sucker.

As for regular flu, try nine hours of high fever, chills, bone-rattling aches,* and again with the nausea, far more prolonged because the illness isn’t actually in your stomach but just causes collateral damage in the stomach due to respiratory drainage, resolved at some point by the violent retching aforementioned, but could easily return. Labor is long, but remittent. And unlike violent retching, the actual act of birthing is, compared to labor, hardly painful at all. It’s a relief to start doing the work that leads to the reward. And let’s not forget the three days or so of lassitude that go with both flus, the respiratory congestion that goes with regular flu, that leave you eating nothing and drinking little more, in bed and, when not in discomfort, pretty bored. All hail the bedside laptop. But I digress: the reward.

Oh yeah, the reward. At the end of childbirth, you have someone to show for it. At the end of either flu, all you have are weak muscles, shaky limbs, dirty house, cabin-fever child. If the flu could behave like labor for a couple days and then vanish, I’d hardly complain at all. So cheer up, ladies: If you contemplate having a child but fear what’s involved, trust me: if you’ve had either type of flu, childbirth ought to be a piece of cake.

*No, I didn’t take a fever reducer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (the latter would almost certainly have come back up anyway). I suspect, possibly erroneously but with some observational justification, that as long as the fever is at a manageable temperature, the overall illness will be shorter if it’s allowed to run its course. I didn’t take painkillers during childbirth, either. Fair comparison.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace